This can be quite a contentious issue. It certainly is in my household.

A man offering advice to a woman

The question: should you give your support and advice to someone or should you just leave things be? We are all individuals with (hopefully) free will, free to make our own way in the world. We are ultimately responsible for our own successes and failures and we should take ownership of our mistakes.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help, does it?

Well we should…

It is always nice if you can help people to prevent them from learning from their mistakes the hard way. And we would at certain times like others to look out for us and have our best interests at heart. Some mistakes are just too costly to make yourself and as they say, prevention is better than cure. And what type of world would we live in if we just left everyone to suffer?

But advice should only be provided up to a certain point.

Which brings me to my next question…

How much advice is overkill???


How many times do you feel obliged to drive the point you are making home?

Just once? Good.

Maybe twice? Acceptable.

Has the recipient at least listened to you and taken on board what you have said? Do they appreciate your input? If so, fantastic!!

More than twice??? Stop right there!! Anything more is wasting your time and energy. It’s like driving a nail through air.


“But what if [insert the name of the recipient of your advice here] is ridiculous. It’s gonna end in tears!!” some of you might say.

Don’t fall into the trap of giving advice where it’s not wanted or appreciated. After a certain point, no matter how well-intended you are, and in spite of the salient, well-argued, logical point you are conveying, your words will just fall on deaf ears. And the recipient of your pearls of wisdom won’t thank you for it. He or she will probably think you are an interfering busybody who should mind their own business! And as for you, depending on the severity of the situation, it can constantly preoccupy your thoughts, give you sleepless nights and make you feel the need to rip your hair out in frustration!

If the recipient of your help, doesn’t want it and isn’t stressing themselves about their situation, then you shouldn’t either.    As hard as it is, concentrate on your own life, and let them live theirs. If things work out for them and the crisis is averted, great! But if things go as pear-shaped as you correctly predicted, then at least you know in your heart of hearts that you have tried.

Don’t feel guilty that you could have done more.

After a while, leave them to their own devices and let the chips fall where they may.


Credits: Picture by Aitor Frias

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