Vibe check: Effective advice must be articulated with empathy


Advice binds humanity together in its shared uncertainty. The desire to know one’s situation, to build upon a foundation, for direction and self-fulfillment: It all resides in the asking of one’s advice. 

It's an antidote against ignorance. Depending on your personality, you may either offer heartfelt insight toward their dilemma and articulate your thoughts on their situation clearly, or state that you don’t have the time and disingenuously listen to them. 

No matter your method, listening to friends’ problems and issues is a staple of friendship. The decision of whether they listen to us lies in their free will, and a discourse on giving out advice or not is a worthy discussion.

The choices of either giving advice or not both have their own set of consequences. Leaving friends to their own devices can occasionally have disastrous effects if they are not careful and considerate, and their background and upbringing greatly impacts their mindset. 

Feelings of abandonment and loneliness may persist, and they may consider you as the friend that gave up on them when they needed your help the most. Image and reputation are important to uphold and drastically affect how we view our relationships with others.

Choosing to give advice takes a great deal of effort, and there is a sense of hopelessness if our efforts go to waste. Words and conversation provide valuable insight into a person’s character, and their view on their own situation can be distorted to fit their perspective. 

The benefits of asking for an outside point of view may be shown through the insight offered: That they will see your situation from an unobscured lens, which can provide clarity. 

Willpower alone will not get a message across, as communication ensures that both people are on the same page. While tone and delivery can ensure your voice is heard, it must be reinforced to be received. 

The presentation of your advice also impacts your efficiency. Your method of communication can make or break your message. If you are too overbearing or demanding, friends may not find your message to be coming from a place of honesty. 

Of course, stubbornness can also play a part. Additionally, judgement of their actions is something you should think about carefully. If you view them differently from their situation, it can easily affect how they may think of you in future conversations and experiences you will share together.

Checking up on your friends and their mental health is an important process we as students must take, especially as we approach the middle of the semester. Empathy is a valuable trait, as it allows you to understand others’ situations and feelings. 

Combining empathy with your opinion allows your message to be digested smoothly, and showcasing the fact that you care for others is enough for friends to realize that you truly value them. We’ll always have problems, and our emotions can inhibit us from viewing them with a clear head. 

The power of advice should not be understated, and taking advice should not impact your pride or value as a person. If anything, seeking advice makes you more intelligent, resourceful and productive compared with people who only rely on themselves for guidance. 

An empathetic perspective and kindness in one’s assessment can easily bridge the difference between advice ignored and advice taken.


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