Given that part of our purpose is to advise each other on topics of etiquette (and general life) when we ask for it, are there ways and means of giving it, and specific advice, that seems to be more successful than others? What's the most successful for you/least successful (in a nonprofessional counseling situation)?
In my case:
1) If something's going wrong in my life, I'd like to hear acknowledgement that something is wrong *before* I'm given advice. My mother is absolutely terrible about this-she jumps right in with advice that often isn't practical for the situation.
2) I tend not to want a lot of analysis unless I ask for it-just the facts, please.
3) Dismissive attitudes, such as "get over it," are not helpful if they're expressed too bluntly. Even if they're justified (and I won't deny that sometimes that's the case with me), please be more subtle.
4) Whatever you do, do not at any time tell me to "give a big smile." I find this very, very condescending and unhelpful. I'm not that much of a smiler to begin with, even when I'm in a good mood.
5) Keep it private. The whole world doesn't have to know that I have a problem if I haven't announced it.
Even if you think I am making a mountain out of a molehill, at least realize my perception is that it is a mountain, and treat that with respect.
Don't tell me to "get over it!" That doesn't help, and if I came to you in good faith and with trust, it really alienates me from you.
If you don't want to deal with advising me, please just say so, but please be gentle. Such as, 'I don't feel that I can advise you on this, but I hope you can resolve it.'
If I keep repeating the same issue to you and you have already advised me, tell me that we've talked about it before and that you have no further help to offer, but in a nice way.
Respect that I have confided in you and keep the information to yourself.
Sometimes I just need someone to listen or to act as a sounding board. If it isn't clear what I need from you, please feel free to ask.
Edited to make it more clear and only what I need when asking for advise.