Know the Ropes: Giving Advice


Cliff thinks I give too much advice, so I’ve been pondering the topic.

Now that I’m of a certain age, I especially love to give advice to young people. I do this because I think I know the ropes. I’ve been around the block a bit. But is the advice welcome? Or is my advice even good advice?

I’ve had people (usually women my own age) come back to me and say, “Barbara, I took your advice…….” (fill in something good that happened to that person). I had one friend say that my advice saved a whole vacation! (Can’t remember what the advice was now–something about how to react to a situation, but I can’t remember what situation.)

But of all the friends, and sometimes strangers, that I’ve given advice to, I don’t know how many I’ve annoyed or upset. Those people are usually too polite to tell you that your advice got on their nerves.


I often go to others for advice, and in recent years, I’ve worked to be even more open to advice, especially advice that initially makes me bristle. It’s felt liberating to let my guard down and to be more receptive. But I’ve been the victim of condescending and sometimes even cruel advice, so I get why Cliff is urging caution.

When we really know the ropes on a topic, should we give our advice?  Or should we NEVER offer advice unless it’s requested?

Give us your advice, wise friends!

Here’s a great article on the Psychology Today website on the giving of advice.

I snapped these cool rope pictures at a resort in Cabo, Mexico last year. I would never think to decorate with ropes!

Here’s some info on the expression: Know the ropes.