You are enjoying a party, when “Tom” asks what you do, and upon receiving the answer, suddenly “Tom” is providing you his life’s story and asking you for free advice.
What’s your response? You do want to help him out, but unless you are running a charity, you should be compensated appropriately for your professional consultation. Also, who wants to work during much appreciated social time?
So, in responding to “Tom,” I politely share that his situation is too sensitive and complex for a casual discussion. I inform him that I have a special “Pick My Brain” session just for situations like his. Then we set a date for that conversation.
It takes getting used to…but this simple tip has rescued me more than once!