I see often see postings saying “Don’t give advice” or “People don’t want to hear your advice”. Why is this?
When someone is triggered or mourning an event, they often need “to be heard”. They have not asked for advice, they have not asked you to tell them about your experiences, they just want “to matter, to be seen and to be heard”.
If you are listening to fix someone, you are meeting your own need “to matter and to contribute”. You are likely not really listening. A part of you is figuring out how to help them or how to fix the problem. They don’t want that. This might seem really frustrating to you as you are up in your head judging the situation and figuring out how to solve it. This is why I say you are not listening from the heart to how they feel and to their need.
I think so many of us have been brought up believing fixing the problem is a way to connect to others and be compassionate. Giving advice is OK as long as you clarify, “Would you like my advice?” By this question, you are offering the person the opportunity to choose. There is nothing wrong with giving advice if it is requested, it is just not useful for the person who wants “to be heard” and have justification that “they matter”.
In Nonviolent Communications we accompany the person in a state of presence, listening for their feelings and needs with a heart to heart connection. We call this NVC Empathy.
Note- I italicized the universal needs in this blog so that they stand out