Now that depends. Is the advice asked for? Do we hate it when someone says ‘if you want my advice….’? There are certain situations when everyone wants to give their advice such as having a baby, child rearing, dieting, or, god forbid, if someone gets cancer. Eat lemons, see that guru, eliminate dairy, meditate!
Sometimes we may think we are asking for advice but really we just want a sounding board. No matter what the other person comes up with, it may just be the vessel for helping us examine our own real beliefs. We may even realise that we want the opposite of what is being suggested. But at least we have our answers by resisting the adviser’s comments and stating our ideas out loud.
When do we go looking for advice? Are we open to it really? Do we have any intention of being swayed or are we too rigid to accept anything outside our current belief system? I like to think I am wildly open to any new idea or suggestion but if I am present and have time to contemplate while the other person is talking, I catch myself thinking. It might be ‘No, but’ and then have dialogue with myself (great multitasking while I am listening) and decide that I might tell them politely but firmly that it’s not for me, or I’ve tried that. Sometimes I might just agree and then go do the opposite! Some cultures are excellent at this; in fact it’s the only polite way to proceed.
Do you have these conversations with yourself, even while you listen to others? If I can be fully aware like this, I far prefer it as I come out with a more measured response and not a reactive one. It can also advance the conversation as you work out how they might respond to the first response you are formulating, so you predict both sides of the conversation and come out ahead.
Anyway, see if you can catch yourself thinking, next time someone is offering advice, and moderate your reply. By responding differently, who knows what different outcomes you might invite into your life and your relationships?