As a motivational speaker I get asked for my advice a lot. And I've learned that there are real risks involved in giving someone advice – no matter how well meaning your intentions. If they take your advice and things turn out badly – they could blame you for the outcome. And no, you are not responsible for the choices they make – but the bottom line is that what ensues could compromise your relationship.
So what do you do when someone asks for your advice? Consider the following disclaimers:
1. "I really can't tell you what you should do – but I can share with you what I might do in this situation."
2. "I probably don't know enough about this situation to properly advise you, but based on what you have told me, here's something that I saw work very well once."
And a REALLY great response might be:
3. "I don't know. What do YOU think would be the best thing to do?"
And, while I would be remiss to tell you what you should or should not say if someone asks you for advice, what I might do – is NOT tell them what they SHOULD or SHOULD NOT do.
"Shoulds" create a slippery slope, indeed.