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How to Solve Problems for Other People

By Arel

· Instant Ideas,Conversation,Psychology

Ever given someone advice and watched them NOT follow up with your advice? In this episode of the Art of Likability, we come up with a different way of giving advice.

We focus on giving someone the environment to solve the problem. What advice comes up then becomes inextricably linked with you!

Excited? Jump right in...

Sometimes people come to you seeking advice, but end up just wanting someone to vent to.

When you offer advice, I'm sure you and I prefer to see it put into practice. How to handle this if you sincerely wish to see the problem fixed?

I see myself as a person who likes to go in and fix a problem immediately. Finding out that giving advice doesn't turn into action feels a lot like wasted effort.

Instead of giving them the solution immediately, what about giving them the environment to find the solution. Say this:

"Tell Me More."

One of two things can happen at this point.

1. If they're really insistent to get advice, they will press for it! Here, you can go ahead and give them advice. Here's an example.

If someone asked me for advice on organizing themselves, I would first give them the space to talk about how being disorganized is getting in the way of their goals and the way being disorganized makes them feel.

If they continued to press me, I could then offer my experiences on organization. One great way to organize everything financial related is FreshBooks, financial accounting software extraordinaire! If you're interested in bringing your organization to the top level it can be, you can check out and enter "The Art of Likability" in the how did you hear about us section:

2. If they are not as insistent on advice, you continue to give them the space to reflect on their issue.

Either they get a wonderful opportunity to vent to someone who will listen, or they may even talk themselves into the answer! The fact that you were there with them to discover the answer will help them associate you with the fact that they found a viable solution!


It's been four years of the Art of Likability, and I'd love to get to know you wonderful people more and more! I created a survey below so you all can give me advice on what you'd like us to create for you here at the Art of Likability.