How to give advice without being a jerk
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I have a feeling I’m going to be really bad at dying. Here’s my plan: In my old age, about a year before I die, I’ll start joking to my kids about what my last words should be. They’ll get really mad and sad and shift uncomfortably in their chair because, really, who wants to talk about their dad dying?
And then, months later, surrounded by a loving family on my deathbed, I’ll finally say this:
“I’ve loved you all for my entire life. The most important thing I learned is…” DIE
THEY’LL NEVER KNOW!!
Is it wrong to know that I’ll be laughing even while my life slips away from this green earth?
If your face is curled into a massive look of disgust, you might be too sensitive to read this site. Speaking of being sensitive…
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of fun giving advice and sharing what I’ve learned. I used to get frustrated when people didn’t listen. Why didn’t they just follow my advice when I could objectively solve their problems?
It took me a long time to realize that information alone doesn’t persuade. If it did, we’d all be rich, fit, and in perfect relationships. (See one of my favorite examples of how information alone doesn’t help people lose weight.)
The short story is that author Clotaire Rapaille was speaking at a university conference where the other speakers were talking about the importance of obesity education. He looked around the room and said this:
“I think it is fascinating that the other speakers today have suggested that education is the answer to our country’s obesity problem,” I said. I slowly gestured around the room. “If education is the answer, then why hasn’t it helped more of you?”
Who else has tried to give good advice, only to have your friend, mom/dad, or boyfriend/girlfriend ignore it? Even when they genuinely wanted to change?
Hmm. If information is not the answer, how do you give advice?
Check out this 4-minute video where I share:
- What happened when I tried to give people the “right answer” about their finances (1:22)
- The factors that influence behavior change besides information (2:01)
- One simple, easy way to drastically improve your communication (2:40)
- How to walk the line between honesty and sensitivity (3:14)
- What people REALLY want when they ask for advice (3:46)
After you watch the video, leave a comment below: Have you ever had a friend or family member who refused to follow advice? Why do you think that is?
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