What to Do When People Ask for Advice . . .

<p>but don't follow it.</p>

<p>I am a good listener and often have friends/family members ask for advice. I have a friend and a cousin who have recently asked me for help. The friend has an 18 year old son who is out of control and my cousin has a husband who is on dating sites on the computer and on the phone. I have tried to help them both, but they don't want to do the hard thing (stop being a doormat and say NO to this behavior). </p>

<p>I care about both of these people dearly and have tried just listening, but then there comes the question, "But what should I do?" </p>

<p>I have used the question, "What do you think you should do?" I have also said, "I don't know what else I can tell you." </p>

<p>Do you have any advice for ME as to what else I can say or do? I feel like I might say something I regret because neither one is listening to what I say, but they continue to ask for advice. I know both are hurting and I want to be supportive, but I am becoming extremely frustrated at going over and over the same thing.</p>

<p>When I get frustrated like you seem to be, the thought of “If you are going to ask a question, listen for the answer” comes to mind. Yes, I’ve said it too. If somebody is going to ask me a question and then disregard whatever it is I have to say, then I’m not going to answer long…</p>

<p>Yes, hops, I am frustrated and don’t want to answer the phone when my friend or cousin are calling me. :frowning: I feel bad about that.</p>

<p>I have read a lot of posts on CC about people having trouble with their kids and it seems like the best(and often the most difficult) solution to the problem is tough love. I have tried to express this to my friend, but she is unable to stick to enforcing any of the rules she and her husband make–and then she wonders why her son doesn’t listen. </p>

<p>My cousin’s situation is a little bit different;she won’t talk to her husband about what she has found out, yet she continues to stress out about the situation. I really don’t know what to tell her except to talk to him and tell him that what he’s doing is not ok. </p>

<p>Any advice is appreciated . . . and I will listen. :)</p>

<p>I can understand your frustration and I sympathize with you. I have a family member who is dealing with mental and physical health issues with her spouse. She was constantly calling me and complaining about her spouse and asking me what she should do. I gave her sound advice, researched options for her, gave her resources for additional information and listened to her complain for months on end, while doing nothing about the situation. For my own mental health, I finally told her that I could not discuss these issues with her any longer. She is making the choice to not follow my, or anyone else’s, advice. It seems like she thrives on the drama. I do not!</p>

<p>Nothing you can do but stay away. Nothing will help, but anything that you suggest might potentially damage your own relationship with these people. If one is persistant in their request for advice, I usually say that I do not have enough background / experience to be able to suggest anything that might help (which seems to be very true, so why not be truthful?)</p>

<p>“Do you want actual advice or do you want a sympathetic ear? I want to know because if I give you advice, it’s not going to be easy for you to hear.”</p>

<p>Most people really only want the sympathy… so you might as well find out up front. </p>

<p>The quotation is from my husband, who asked me that question very early on in our marriage when I was complaining, for the umpteenth time, about my mother. I asked for the advice, and took it. (The advice was “she’s not going to change, so learn to let what she says go right out the other ear.”) But I also learned to say “Hey, I just want you to listen and be sympathetic, please.”</p>



<p>Very astute husband you have there. My counselor taught me to say this. The truth is non-assertive people use other people to triangulate their relationships. Instead of confronting the other person head-on (the son or husband) they vent to you and it relieves some of the internal pressure without having to actually do anything about the problem. You’re basically enabling them to do nothing. Often times, people really don’t want to do the work necessary to fix their problem, they would rather just complain about it.</p>

<p>It’s okay to say you love them dearly but you can’t be their sounding board about the same issue over and over again if they’re not willing to deal with the problem. AND don’t give advice, even if they ask for it. What I say is “I’m not really sure what you should do but I’m sure you will figure it out.”</p>