A friend of mine, who was one year behind in college and in the same graduate program, will soon graduate and is in the look out for a job. This friend has being asking me for advice (I'm very well employed), but every time I tell him something, he doesn't follow on my recommendations. For example:
- I provided him with information about job fairs in our area; he didn't attend any.
- I redirected him to the local employment office and the university counselors; he says he went, but they weren't useful (the account of his interactions are sparse and confused so I doubt he has intentions to truly rely on these resources.)
- I invited him to a party where the head of recruitment of a company would be; he didn't show up.
- I set him up for a internship in a branch of our company; he accepted and later declined without providing a convincing excuse (leaving me slightly embarrassed with my higher-ups.)
It could be that I'm expressing myself in a way that is unclear or intimidating, although I think I've done it thoughtfully and tactfully. Also, I suspect my friend hasn't open up about all the personal issues that are affecting his behavior, like fear of moving away and possibly depression, but I can clearly see that he is intimidated by the idea of starting a new stage in his life. In any case, I'm getting convinced that I'm not the right person to provide him with advice. On my side, I have to add that after all I'm not a professional counselor or therapist, and seeing a person I regard highly act so carelessly about his future is starting to take a toll on me.
I sincerely believe my friend is a good person from the interactions we had in the past, although our friendship has stalled for some months. Nonetheless, I still want the best for him. I want to tell him I don't want to give him more advice without hurting what remains of his self-confidence. What is the best way to approach this type of conversation?