This is related to interpersonal skills on the Internet.

I almost wanted to buy an item on eBay, but the item in the photo was placed on a bed with the bed sheet not only all wrinkled up, but there seemed to be some stain on it.

So I was considering another seller's item, but I send to that seller:

friendly reminder: maybe you can place the item in clean and tidy background so the buyers won't need to worry about it

I really wrote this message out of kindness.

But two days later, I got back a message:

You really have all the time to go around in the world and complain about things. What a clown.

Do people really think what they do are always right? What could I have done?

  • 2
    Hey nonopolarity! Interpersonal Skills are behaviors people use to interact with each other, like assertiveness or rules of etiquette. Whether people think they're always right isn't answerable or on-topic on this stack exchange, it's more a matter of psychology than interpersonal skills, since it goes on within a single mind/person instead of being an interaction between two. Also, this stack doesn't take 'what should/could I do' questions, see our help center. Could you clarify your goal? Is the question here perhaps 'how to give unsollicited feedback to strangers without offending?'
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jun 10, 2020 at 5:59
  • oh well... it seems I have to tweak the question to fit the forum... I suppose I can, but it is getting very technical... it is getting to the point, "if you ask it this way, we will reject you", but if you "ask it in a different way", we will accept you... Jun 10, 2020 at 6:27
  • 1
    Heh. That's basically the whole premise of all SE sites, in a few lines ;-). It's why there's edits and comments to clarify questions, it's why people can vote questions up/down based on them being clear/unclear... The topic of this site (be careful, it's not really a forum) is Interpersonal Skills: Behaviors people use to interact well with each other. Questions that focus on personal help should be written to make clear which behavior of yours you want to improve, how you want to improve that, and what you want to achieve by improving :)
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jun 10, 2020 at 6:42
  • I’m voting to close this question because it's off-topic for IPS, as explained in my previous comments. It's been over an hour since you suggested you could rephrase it, please do. In the meantime, this shouldn't be open for answers.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jun 10, 2020 at 7:59

1 Answer 1


Even though your response was reasonable, you were giving unsolicited advice. Whether you had good intentions or not, not everyone is open to that. There are two articles that summarize research done into advice. The main conclusion is that giving advice creates a power imbalance.

The following quotes from the linked articles might give more insight into why your advice was not well-received:

In other words, most men and women reach a point where they tire of listening to others tell them what to do, and they would rather make a mistake and suffer the consequence than comply like a dutiful child in response to advice, even if the advice would actually lead to a better result.

And from the second article:

Though giving advice can seem (and indeed be) generous and kindly, it also creates a power imbalance as it suggests the person receiving the council needs something from the advice giver. Sometimes, of course, that’s true: No one is able to navigate life’s many complexities alone, and it’s often useful to hear another's perspective. But dispensing too much advice very much creates the impression of a know-it-all.

So what you could have done is let it slide, since you were not interested in the product and you had an alternative.

  • I think it may depend on the region... some region, I'd image somebody may say, "thank you for your reminder... we had some issue and didn't pay attention and maybe that's why our sale wasn't going too smooth recently. Thank you." but in some region, it could be that comment, together with some egoistic, righteous, instant gratification type of attitude. And on the Internet, it is hard to say what region it is. Sometimes, even one region is nice and you can drive 20 minutes and it is a totally different region, but on the Internet we never know Jun 11, 2020 at 12:36
  • @nonopolarity: by that comment, you assumed that the background has been a problem for the seller, but they might think there are no problems. And insisting that they should respond in what you imagined is in itself also egoistic (even though I agree that your intention is good). I think your last statement is your answer: you never know what kind of people is on the other side of the internet, but once you knew, you can move on. No need to be caught up with this incident, sometimes people just cannot appreciate our deeds (maybe different principles, background, region, etc.)
    – justhalf
    Jun 20, 2020 at 1:59

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