3 Ways to Help Loved Ones and Friends with Big Life Decisions

Financial Responsibility, Parenting, Planning & Money Management | Monday, August 7th, 2017

When friends and family are faced with making big life decisions, it can sometimes feel like you need to step in and offer your own two cents. Lending moral support can go a long way, but always acting as a crutch may not help them in future decision-making. Remember, while you may experience the same feelings of worry and stress, it’s important you give them the room they need to make a decision and that you’re there as their cheerleader. Here are three ways you can help your loved ones make important life decisions.

1. Connect Them With Experts

Oftentimes, big decisions are expensive undertakings. From buying a house to selecting a suitable career path, these choices need to be carefully thought out and considered. One way you can help friends and loved ones going through these decision-making processes is by connecting them with experts in the field. This can be as simple as introducing them to a trustworthy real estate agent or pointing them to a dependable online resource that can help answer their pressing questions and concerns.

For example, buying new tires is a pretty big undertaking. From factoring in costs to making sure the tires remain safe for both driver and passenger, there’s a lot to consider when contemplating a new purchase. While you may not be a tire expert, recommend they check out a website like TireBuyer.com.

The online, all-things tire resource provides buyers’ guides, pricing information and comparisons of different tire brands. By pointing them to a reputable website, you’re able to help your friends uncover useful information instead of merely offering your opinion.

2. Ask “What If? Questions”

A big part of making decisions is actually talking through them. But one way to be helpful in these conversations is by simply asking, “What if?” It may seem tiresome to keep lending your friends and loved ones new ideas for consideration, but know that it’s one way you can be sure they’re thinking about all possible scenarios and outcomes.

For example, pretend your friend is thinking about moving across the country. While it may be easy to list a bunch of pros and cons, asking “what if” questions helps to move along the planning process. Some examples might include:

  • What if you don’t like your new city?
  • What if it takes you a while to make new friends?
  • What if you can’t find a job?

While your friends and loved ones may already be contemplating these scenarios, giving them voice and developing a plan of action to deal with these worries head-on can be quite practical and useful.

3. Don’t (Always) Offer Unsolicited Advice

One of the most difficult things to come to terms with when helping friends and loved ones with big changes is to not offer unsolicited advice. Think about a time you went to a friend with a problem and they began offering you opinions in which you didn’t agree. It likely made you a little angry and more worried about the situation than before.

Even though you may have asked for help with the problem, you didn’t want to necessarily hear every little thought and detail your friend had about it. Keep this in mind when your friends come to you. If they explicitly ask for your opinion, feel free to give some quick thoughts, but remind them it’s ultimately their decision. Help them through the process with these and other methods, but try not to also overwhelm them.

Big decisions are tough. But when friends and family are faced with monumental choices, do what you can to assist without creating any sort of undue stress. In the end, they’ll be thankful for your forthcoming nature.

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