Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Advice Call-in with James Kelley October 11, 2017

Dr. James Kelley is back on the call-in show on Nightline where we tackle the questions you are asking and want to sound off about.

This week we are talking about advice, who is giving it and how well are we taking it.

As it turns out some advice we get is great but for the most part people are giving advice without asking if we want it.

And then there is the situation where you give great advice based on your situation but the same situation doesn't happen for others when they take your advice making the advice dreadful.

This is another informative and entertaining hour of Nightline.

Click here for the podcast.

The Show Notes.

This is the Dr/Dr show or the all James show….
Dr. James Kelley joining us on the Call-in James is a professor at UAEU and makes the trip in from Al Ain because you matter!

This evening we are talking advice, recommendations and you!

Advice and recommendations do you give it? Do you use it? Where do you draw the line? Do you give advice with a use at your own risk warning?

My story with KLM, Car repair, tech… give advice but what if the results are not as they were for me?

Course choices at University…

Travel choices….

Career choices….

So, how do you deal with people giving you advice? Do you take it? Ignore it? Apply it? Smile and move on? Has taken advice been a bad thing for you?

Advice is a big deal and something that we dispense, often without really giving a lot of thought to it, even when our profession is giving advice we can get it wrong.

Maybe we need to bite our tongues!

An axiom in counseling and in general communication is to avoid giving advice. That's because one or more of these is likely:
  • The person knows himself and his situation better than you do. So a recommendation that comes from you may not consider all the relevant factors.
For example, let's say you suggest ways the person could overcome procrastination in looking for a job. You may not be aware that, deep down, the person knows s/he'd be a bad employee or that s/he doesn't actually want to work but prefers to have someone support him or her.
  • Getting advice makes the person feel disempowered.
  • The person isn't ready to hear your advice.
  • The person disdains you as trying to show you're superior.
No matter how it's couched, it's wise to resist giving advice, especially if unasked-for. But not always. If you feel you should offer a suggestion, might you want to try one of the above?

BEWARE of advice givers!
Some people show greater interest in solving your problems than they do their own. In such cases, what might these self-appointed, habitual advice-givers be revealing about themselves? Actually, much more than you may have realized.
What the chronic advice-giver’s suggestions—often gratuitous and unsolicited—typically betray is a powerful need to prove to themselves that they could deal with your difficulties better than you could ever be expected to. And also that the depth and breadth of their intelligence, knowledge and comprehension indicates a still more general superiority over you. Assuming that this strong impulse to give you unsought advice is something you’ve also seem them demonstrate with others, such behavior hints at a person whose ego demands perpetual reassurance: That it needs to be regularly reminded that it’s exceptional—somehow of a higher “rank” or “order” than the one who’s receiving the advice.

Do you bite your tongue on giving advice maybe you should?

If you’re one of those people who can’t help but give it away, here is my advice, and yes, you asked for it, or you wouldn’t be reading this:
1. Shut the f#$k up.
Shutting the f#$k up is the number one most effective cure for advice-promiscuity. Please note: your freedom to voice your opinion is always sacrosanct. So is your freedom to eat McRibs and have sex without a condom. Use your freedoms wisely. Or risk being labeled an asshole.
2. Before giving your advice to others, try giving it to yourself to see how you like it.
So, how’d that go? Like it? If your knee-jerk reaction was to tell yourself to “shut the f#$k up,” well, maybe you’ve got a point there.
3. Abide By The Rubber and Glue Principle.
Your five-year old nephew is correct: Whatever you say does, in fact, come right back to you. Odds are, whatever advice you yearn to bestow upon others is advice you are in need of following, yourself. This is not my opinion, but a universal truth. If you don’t believe me, do an Internet search for “psychological projection”.
4. Don’t ask for advice.
You know you don’t want it. So if you find yourself seeking advice, you’d be better off acknowledging your true agenda: opening the door to being all slutty with your unsolicited advice. But don’t kid yourself. You’re not fooling anyone. Everyone has a tell, and everyone knows yours. Don’t make us see it. It’s unbecoming. And you know you wanted this advice, or you wouldn’t be reading here.
5. Be a better person.
Your need to give advice most likely stems from a desire to improve yourself. Just do that. It would be a far greater gift to the world than any advice you could ever give.
6. Aversion therapy.
Your compulsion to give away your advice can only exist if you believe that others want it. This is a delusion. It arises for any one of a number of reasons, but the reason doesn’t matter. What matters is that you shut the f#$k up. The time-honored and most low-tech method of nipping a compulsion in the bud is aversion therapy. Here’s how it works in this case: you wear a rubber band on your wrist, and snap it every time you want to offer unsolicited advice. And if you don’t have enough discipline to make yourself do so, then recruit your friends to do it for you. Whenever you begin a sentence with “You should,” they will be entitled to snap away.
7. Express yourself creatively.
By finding creative ways to express your feelings, you can effectively take the edge off of your compulsion to offer unsolicited advice to others. That’s why I write. It totally eliminates my impulse to offer unsolicited advice. Now you know. But you don’t have to write. You can paint or sing in the shower or make grumpy cat memes. The possibilities are endless really. Just find something that engages you, and you may forget all about the fact that you have super-important opinions to share and advice to bestow on others.
8. See a shrink.
With a shrink, you can whine about how everyone needs your advice but is too stupid/closed-minded/afraid to take your advice. Unlike your stupid/closed-minded/scared friends, your shrink won’t react by screening your calls. She’ll even talk about what it means and why you see things the way you do. Pretend-friend and psychological analysis in one? I call that a win-win.
9. Don’t pretend that offering your opinion isn’t just another way of giving advice.

“I’m entitled to my opinion,” you say. But everyone knows that an opinion is nothing more than passive aggressive advice. No one is fooled. When you say “I liked your hair better long,” I know that you mean “Please grow your hair long again.” Everyone knows. So just stop.
9a. Corollary to 9: Don’t ask a “question” for the sole purpose of offering your opinion.
Example: “Are you going to wear that?”
I know, and you know, and you know that I know, that the rest of the conversation will go according to a script that was written at the dawn of time. It will end with your offering unsolicited advice about what I am wearing. Don’t go there. And if you really don’t know that, then when in doubt, see number (1) above.
10. Filter the incoming..
Others will offer their own opinions and advice all day long. If you accord equal value to all of it, you will quickly become confused and irritable, and the only way you will know how to make the chaos stop is by purging the unsolicited opinions and advice by giving it all away to others, unsolicited. Do not fall into this trap. Filter what comes in. Then you won’t have the need to vomit it back up.
11. Believe in yourself.
Your beliefs do not depend upon validation from others. At the risk of sounding all “woo”, I suggest that if you do what you know is right, and if you believe in your own intuition and your ability to make rational judgements and take reasonable actions, you will have no need to get in anyone else’s face about anything.
If you can’t, then just shut the f#$k up. Please. And always say “please”. Thank you.

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).
Here's a good recent example: One of the most delightful families I met at my son's high school are evangelical Christians. But I had no clue what their religious affiliation was for about 3 years, after spending lots of time with them at track meets and other events. They modeled friendliness, graciousness, and caring better than anyone else I knew at this large public high school. Only during a casual conversation at one of our children's last track meets did I even have any idea of their beliefs and traditions. They modeled wonderful and appealing behaviors without a word and set an excellent example for others—very different than the folks knocking on the door telling you what you should do and believe.  
If you really want to encourage behavior change in those around you, model the behavior that you want and keep your advice-giving instincts in check. I know—I'm giving advice here, and perhaps contradicting myself, but still, just consider this strategy and see how it works out for you.

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