This friend listened well, and then he did what a lot of us as friends do.
He gave advice.
He said what he thought about my situation.
And I was surprised by my reaction: I didn't like it. It felt kind of crummy.
It made me think of how I do that a lot. I give advice.
I mean, why not? I care. I have a lot of life experience and wisdom. I even have a blog where I share this wisdom with the masses. (No, really, you should read it sometime.)
And, plus, no one has to take my counsel, I'm just going to put it out there. No harm in offering it.
But, in that moment, as I was on the receiving end of it, I was acutely aware that it doesn't always feel so pleasant.
I'm not saying there's never a place for it, but it's best used in moderation. Because no matter how good the intention, it doesn't usually have the impact the giver intends it to have.
As for my friend, I don't fault him for saying what he said. He meant well.
But I left more conscientious about how I can be a better friend, teacher, brother, neighbor.
I don't have to dole out advice. I can hear what they are really saying - I can truly listen.
And then listen some more. That's really what everyone is looking for anyway.
OK, I got it. I came up with this, and I'm going to leave it with you.
It even rhymes: "Think twice before giving advice."
Pretty good, right? Remember...you first read it here.
Look out for my book, Rhyming Adages, Summer 2018.