One of the hardest temptations for me to resist is giving advice. When someone tells me a problem I believe it is my first instinct to tell them how to handle it. I have caught myself many times starting to formulate an answer as soon as I recognize the problem instead of listening to whatever they wish to tell me.
Important issues have a way of trapping us in a solution we don't want like sitting on a carousel. There we sit hanging on, spinning round and round and can't reach out for the brass ring for fear of falling off. We are stuck in the problem and can't move.
Some people just need to tell the problem out loud to someone because when they talk they have to make sense to us and in the process they tell a different story than they have been when thinking about it. That can be enough to change their perspective and come to a different action and result. Nothing for us to do but listen.
Some people don't want to take responsibility for their own actions and grab on to advice as a crutch so that if things don't turn out well they can blame the crutch. That can put us in the position of being the cause of a bad result even when it is the only action possible.
Some people truly want alternatives they haven't considered so they can self-evaluate and decide. Usually these are issues involving low emotional content and we can give our advice or cautions freely.
So I try not to give advice when highly emotional issues are involved which in truth, is simply how I would handle it because I really can't know the whole situation from whatever description they tell me. If something similar has happened to me then I will tell them my experience and result for me if appropriate. Otherwise I would ask questions to help them obtain a different perspective and leave them to own their decisions.
What do you do?