Do These Things Instead of Playing Devil’s Advocate

We’re all likely guilty of playing the counter-side to other people’s big ideas, most often referred to as “playing devil’s advocate”. We think we are helping our friends by telling them all of the reasons why their idea / plan is wrong and how it won’t work. But we are actually becoming a barrier to them reaching their dreams.

Instead of playing devil’s advocate, here are 6 things you can do to actually help them:

1. Encourage them

It sounds so simple, but just being there to encourage them can have lasting benefits. Trust me, their mind is there to think through the negatives, they likely don’t need any help with that (as I’m sure we can relate to with our own mind).

2. Offer help

Whether it’s providing an introduction to a contact of yours, or maybe there is a way to physically help them with their big idea – just offer to help. Knowing that they have you in their support system is a invaluable as they look to achieve their goals.

3. Be a sounding board

Just listen. More likely than not they haven’t fully thought through there ideas when they bring them up to discuss with you. Instead of telling them all of the ways that their idea won’t work, just let them talk it through. They’ll bring up the negatives along the way, help them think through those – here is where it’s ok to talk through the negatives (only if they bring them up). 


4. Dream with them

Help them think through what success could look like. As you both paint the picture of the future, they will start to see all angles of what an outcome may look like. This is far more encouraging than hampering on all of the negatives.


5. Share YOUR big ideas

Having them know that you also have some far reaching goals is a great way to bond and help each other achieve success. Creating this “safe space” where you can both dream and talk through ideas together will prove to be invaluable throughout both of your journeys.

6. Follow up

Check in from time to time on their goals. This will create accountability as well as foster a relationship of encouragement between you both. Hopefully they’ll return the favor and follow up with you as you’ve also gone ahead and shared your goals (#5 above).


About the author: Eric is a co-founder at The Mindful Tech Lab where he focuses on creating self care technology to help millions of people around the world improve their body and mind. He is a strong proponent of positive psychology and enjoys reading, writing, and sharing the benefits to help others live their own best life. 


You may also like...