Social Question

envidula61's avatar

Is there a way of offering help and advice before someone asks for it?

Asked by envidula61 (1016points) June 15th, 2012

Often times I’ll hear the story of someone’s life and I’ll think I recognize a pattern, such as one indicating a person has been abused. I’ll see the pain and I’ll want to help. But how? Most people won’t admit such things to strangers. And I probably won’t really have time to befriend the person and wait for them to confide in me. Is there any way of cutting this process short? Or do I just have to move on and hope that when they need it, someone else will be there for them?

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10 Answers

Akua's avatar

Well in my opinion I don’t believe there is a way of cutting through the preliminaries to help someone. I think if someone approached me or offered me help before they heard my story, it may embarrass me that my issues were so obvious to the outsides world. Also you have to take into consideration that they may not want to confide in anyone or may not want someone to know their business. If they give you an indication that they are in serious trouble you can always very gently ask them if they would like to talk to you about anything that’s on their mind. But if they say no, then it might just be best to wait until their ready. The best thing you can do for anyone immediately in trouble is be kind to them. The gentleness you show them may warm them up to confiding in the next person.

marinelife's avatar

Welcome to Fluther. it seems like you have a good heart, But it’s not a good idea. It is a recipe for disaster.

1. You don’t know them well. They may find your advice, though well-meaning. is intrusive.

2. People who want advice ask for it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@marinelife I disagree. It is not always true that people who want advice ask for it. I can think of dozens of times when my friends, partner or family wanted advice on something but didn’t ask for it – deep secrets, shameful pasts, etc. Are you kidding? We wouldn’t be as dysfunctional as so many of us are if we asked for advice or help of others.

Aethelflaed's avatar

It’s really rude and inappropriate to give unsolicited advise. And people who are abused usually have everyone telling them what to do, and need someone who will trust that they are capable more than they need someone telling them they’re fucking up. Hell, a lot of times, telling someone who’s abused what to do makes it harder for them to leave, not easier.

gailcalled's avatar

I would only offer unsolicitied advice when someone was in real crisis and was in danger of serious illness, addiction, absorption by a cult, or death.

zenvelo's avatar

I don’t think one can offer unsolicited advice beyond the specific circumstance one has witnessed. And then only if you have been party to a dysfunction, not if you are just an observer. Other wise you are being presumptive and intrusive in someone’s life.

I agree with @Aethelflaed, it would be rude to think you know the details of something unless the person has been intimately disclosing to you and opened the possibility of a conversation.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@zenvelo It’s also rude to assume that someone sharing with you means they want your input on what they should do.

gailcalled's avatar

There is also this time-honored question:

“Do you want my advice or not?”

Trillian's avatar

I was going to go on about the appropriateness of unsolicited advice, and tell you exactly how much attention I give it. Then I read what @gailcalled wrote. I like it.

augustlan's avatar

I’m with @gailcalled… you can always ask if they’re interested in your advice or help.

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