Understand the underlying current before commenting or giving a generic recommendation. Like for example, someone ask you for direction and you start by saying that you should find out what you like to do, what is your passions, follow your heart etc., I guess instead you get beneath the question and understand what originated the question. Find out why there is need for change, what is causing change and why is the person uncomfortable in the present situation? That could address the specific situation and then apply a generic solution. You can customize to individual needs.
If management comes out with something that differs from your point of view then absorb their point of view and then only highlight your point of view. Do not be defensive but be assertive in your approach, it might help to park your ego to have a open mind during and after the discussion too.
If friends have drastic view or have unreasonable expectations than try to know why is it so? Do not shun friendship just for the fear that you may be used. It is okay to be altruist. It is okay to get up at odd hours and give your car key to a friend. It is okay to ask and be asked. This is age of collaboration and not lonely warriors. Expand your individuality to be inclusive.