When our children are young or we have an authority position over someone, our advice can be synonymous with a directive. Giving advice can just be a softer style of giving a directive. Nevertheless, the advice carries an expectation that it be followed. We sometimes make the mistake of attaching expectations to our advice in other situations too. Regardless of the wisdom in our advice, attaching the expectation that our advice be followed is generally not a good thing to do with family and friends. Even when our children get older and on their own, regardless of what our wisdom tells us is the best thing for them, it is generally a relationship mistake to attach expectations to advice we might give them. Whether it is to a friend or family member, attaching expectations to even our softest advice can be perceived as devaluing their intelligence or threatening their intellectual independence.
For those who say they don’t really offer advice, they give opinions, the same dynamic is true. Giving opinions which are expected to be heeded is the same thing as giving advice with expectations attached.
Either one places our desires, wisdom, or wishes upon another person in the place of their own. Thus, we are expecting them to live their life according to us, not them. That perspective, regardless of how delicately transmitted, is usually met with great natural resistance. There is something deeply seeded within our survival mechanism which generally doesn’t like to be told what to do. Unless we are in an authority position over another, we should exercise great caution when telling another what to do whether it is in the form of advice or opinion. Advice given in the form of intelligent options or considerations without attached expectation is usually welcomed and appreciated.