As a introvert, I think a lot. Sometimes, I replay incidents over in my head. I usually evaluate my performance and what I could do better should a similar situation present itself in the future. Other times, I reflect on an experience I had and from it, learn what not to do to others.
Recently, I asked advice from an older gentleman, perhaps in his 50s, who has been a Real Estate Agent for about 15 years. During this time, not asking me any questions, he told me a lot of things and continued talking for what seemed like a really long time. I paraphrase:
“…To succeed in this business, you have to X, Y, Z. It is your life, anywhere you go, you introduce yourself and pass out business cards…”
Some of what he said was appreciated but our final encounter made me ponder how I give advice and whether I should have even asked for his advice.
As I prepared to leave on this Thursday late morning, I said,
“Thanks a lot for your help. I’ll see you next week.”
“Next week?! No, no, no, you can’t possibly do that. Listen, in order to be successful…You gotta be here everyday…”
I proceeded to let him know I was about to drive for 5+ hours later that day to attend my cousin’s wedding and wouldn’t be back till the following week. As I spoke, I wondered why I needed to explain myself to someone who was a complete stranger approximately 30 minutes ago.
After I left the office and continued to run a few more errands before heading out, I wondered if I have done the same to others. You know, when someone asks my opinion, I don’t ask questions and clarify rather than make assumptions prior to offering advice. And in offering advice, I speak about myself and my accomplishments and tell them what to do and in no way seek feedback from them. Don’t get me wrong, I did get a few tips from this gentleman and I believe he did what he thought was best but I felt violated. I didn’t think he knew me well enough to label me (he did use a term to describe me that I did not appreciate but I smiled and ignored it).
For most of the time, I barely got two sentences in. As he talked, I realized what I assumed would be a 2 minute encounter was about to last for 20+ minutes. I was slowly losing interest but continuously interjected and tried to complete his sentences so I remained engaged/appeared to be paying attention. Why did I ask for advice?
Or maybe it was the way he said it. Or perhaps I also am making assumptions about him that are false. Whatever the case, I learned how not to give advice – to make it about them and not me.
What is your take on getting and giving advice? Have you asked for advice and later wished you didn’t? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below ⇓