Part of giving good
encouragement and advice is
1) paying attention to when someone seems/expresses discouragement.
(a lot of people don't want to hear others express discouragement. It's possible that when they hear it, either they can't empathize/sympathize with the discouragement, or it brings them down low when really they just want to ignore problems and "just be happy")
2) listening to what people believe
is causing their discouragement.
3) understanding enough about the individual, their interests, motivations, and experiences to get an idea of how it all affects each other, and how any changes the person may take will affect the other aspects of the person as well as the people around them.
4) understanding what kinds of changes will likely work for that individual.
5) being able to clearly express those changes and how to go about implementing those changes.
6) and most of all, being aware that all of this is a learning process and your advice WILL fail, numerous times...as you begin to develop those skills.
7) and finally, you'll need to be able to recognize that some people sometimes just want to release the pressure by talking/bitching/complaining about issues....instead of actually attempting to solve the issue.
So we come back to the question, is the above something you are willing to turn your attentions to and learn including all it's failures, successes, and people getting irritated with you for trying to help them?
Honestly? No. Not when you describe it like that, as though giving advice is something that I would seek out to do. Often I just naturally find myself on the other end of people sharing their problems or asking for advice. I'm a good listening ear, and I do care about the people and their problems, but I'd rather just do that -- listen, and not be expected to give advice in things I'm not familiar in. Now then, if it's something that I know about, have experience with, and think I can help, I'm more than willing to share that with someone else. The problem comes in that I don't know what is best for someone else, and I'd hate for them to take my advice and it be the wrong thing for them. So, I'd really like to know how to share my experiences, and help them determine their own best course of action, without it being me directly telling them what to do. If someone just wants to rant, I'm fine with that. 1,2,3 and 7 of your points are things I feel that I'm already pretty good at; 4 and 5 are the tough parts, and 6 is what scares me. I can tell someone what I'd do -- but knowing what they should do, and them in turn following that advice is a responsibility that I'm not so sure I should have. If I could learn 4 and 5, then when the time comes 6 wouldn't be as daunting. Thing is, there's no way in the world for me to experience every problem that is brought up, (nor would I want to!!) so some of it always has to be guesswork I guess. You know though, it makes me feel good when people share with me, and trust me, but I just don't feel like I've really helped all that much sometimes. So, that's what it comes down to I guess -- that I want to be able to actually help when they need it, and not feel like I'm just wasting their time.