A reader asked:
How do you ask someone for more information about a situation – as they’re asking for advice, and you want to give accurate advice because you know you don’t have all the info to give informed advise — without them thinking you’re doubting them or judging them? — This is something I struggle with because I want what I say to be accurate and pertinent but I don’t know how to ask for more information. Any advice?
I think sometimes it can help to say explicitly that you believe them, want to help, and need more information. Eg:
- “I’m sorry that’s happening to you. I think I need to know a bit more about what’s going on in order to give you good advice. Can you tell me ___?”
Another approach is to ask them more about their needs than about the situation. This isn’t always the right approach, but in some situations it works well, eg:
- What do you need right now? Are you trying to find a safe place to go? Advice on how to talk to them about the situation? Something else?