Know your limits

Please, please, please… if you’re not legally trained… or you’re not qualified… or you’re not an expert… or if you’re just an amateur with a great big heart and wonderful intentions… don’t set yourself up as a community mediator… or an advocate… expert on housing and benefits… or community sage, dispatching good advice.

Having good intentions is great, but they won’t stop you screwing up other people’s lives. Just stop. Say, “I don’t know.” Say, “I’m sorry, but it’s best you get expert advice.” Refer them to Citizen’s Advice. Refer them to a reputable registered charity.

Don’t say you know if you don’t know. Don’t say you know if you think you know. If it’s not your area of expertise, stay out of it. You can’t just shrug your shoulders after screwing up another’s life and say, “My intentions were good.” It doesn’t work that way.

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