On Giving Advice

Giving advice, whether to a friend or to a significant other, is a tricky subject, dear reader.

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It should absolutely not, in any ordinary circumstances, be given freely.  First of all dear reader, your advice is valuable and you and others should treat it that way.

Secondly, unsolicited advice is not only poor etiquette, it is often disregarded and resented.

And honestly, while people encourage you to change your ways to accommodate their suggestions what are you privately thinking? Probably something like “Mind your own business!” or “Why don’t you leave me alone?” You might politely listen but privately most of us resent being told what to do and how to do it.

In a nutshell: Advice giving usually doesn’t work, and often completely backfires. – Psychology Today

Lana Del Ray:

It can lose you valuable friendships, business partnerships, and relationships, so you must take care, dear reader.

A woman seeks to use her wisdom to influence rather than to outright tell others what to do.  Furthermore, that latter is generally not socially acceptable unless you are prepared to pay those you are commanding 😉

A much better way to provide advice, when it is requested of you, is to simply ask a series of questions to get them to think through the situation completely on his or her own, and then to make their own conclusions.

A person is going to be much more satisfied with the outcome of her thinking and decision-making if she feels it is her own and was not told what to do.

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And this is what most people seeking advice really want and need anyhow – they don’t come to you because they want you to tell them what decision to make, they come to you because they want help thinking through the implications of each option.

If we really want to encourage behavior (or belief) change in others we actually need to move away from advice giving (especially when our advice is unsolicited) and toward modeling. In other words, we need to be an example for others rather than telling them what to do.

Research on observational learning (in conjunction with an understanding of reactance theory) suggests that while people will resist unsolicited advice and instruction, they will follow the behaviors of others—especially when there appear to be good and reinforcing outcomes from these behaviors (or beliefs).

Even better, dear reader, is if you can show others your point rather than tell them.

Here comes a feeling you thought you'd forgotten:

People like to see things for themselves, and will rarely act or change their minds otherwise.  This is a point that many women frustrated with their boyfriends or husbands not listening to them would do well to think about and internalize.

“Never argue.  In society nothing must be discussed; give only results.” – Benjamin Disraeli, 1804-1881


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