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We all have different levels of stubbornness I suppose, and different levels of willingness to learn and adapt outside of our comfort zone. I am a big fan of learning and making improvements so I tend to be the first to have advice on how to solve things but try to make sure I only give it when it's requested.

As a result, I can find myself in a situation where the person I am trying to help and offer advice to rejects it because they feel it will change who they are, sometimes it can even be to the extent that the person feels I am trying to change them when in reality I care more about solving the problem than them per se. This is an exception with very close friends, family, etc of course. I've found this to be especially the case with problems that seem to be common for a larger number of people but I have somehow managed to already find a way through it. It's common to hear things like "Not everyone solves things your way" in such situations, although I feel (correct me if I'm wrong) a solution should be more about how effective it is and less about who apparently came up with it since we all get influenced by others one way or another.

In my time I've found that some personality types are more likely to accept advice or an idea if they feel they have come up with it themselves. I usually give up helping such individuals because I feel like I've suddenly become the plot of Inception.

But I am wondering if maybe there are some particular ways I can better communicate an intent to provide advice rather than wanting to change anyone or anything?

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    Are you giving this advice to people actually asking you for advice or to people coming to you with problems? The "offer solutions when people just wanted to vent" thing comes up a lot and there's a bunch of questions about how to handle that on the site.
    – Erik
    Dec 8, 2021 at 7:52
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    "Not everyone solves things your way" - this is true. "a solution should be more about how effective it is" - well I guess others don't feel the need to be at most effective as you feel, is that possible? One doesn't want to be told for every step how better it would be if done slightly different. Can you give examples? That would help to estimate the importance of doing things your way than their way. There is a difference in insisting "do X but Y in your job, that saves an hour per day" or if you say "you hold your dishwashing sponge another way, then you save 5 seconds today" ;-)
    – puck
    Dec 9, 2021 at 10:10

1 Answer 1

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We all have different levels of stubbornness I suppose, and different levels of willingness to learn and adapt outside of our comfort zone.

That is one of the reasons why the book "Who Moved My Cheese" was written. People are not willing to change, even if it is in their best interest.

From my own personal experience, I know that people will reject advice, and most times, they will reject good advice. Why? Some of the people were cool (or maybe just too angry) and told me: "I looked like I was smarter than them, and that translated to 'they were stupid' ". There was no such intention from my side, but that was the result.

So (slowly) I changed my strategy. In the beginning, I considered to stop giving any advice, and let everyone deal with their own problems. But in that way I was defining myself as a bad (selfish) person.

So I went on with the following simple strategy. When I noticed that someone needed some advice, I just asked if they needed some advice. I respected their answer. Many people refused to hear what I wanted to say. Others did not. I was most happy when someone happened to listen to advice, and then returned (after some time) to ask for additional advice (on whatever problems they had).

So bottom line, to not force your advice on people. If they are not ready to accept it, you just make things worse for everyone, and especially for yourself.

With different words, the discussion is similar with the discussion about "free will". That "free" is there for a purpose. You are free, but the other people are also free. We are all free to succeed, and we are all free to fail. And free to decide if we want success or failure.

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  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – OldPadawan
    Dec 9, 2021 at 13:11
  • So I like the paragraph about asking someone if they want advice first, before giving. The paragraphs before about people rejecting good advice etc etc just seem like they don't contribute to the answer and would be better off removed. Maybe people are rejecting good advice. Maybe your advice just isn't as good as you think it is. Either way, it doesn't matter.
    – DaveG
    Dec 10, 2021 at 20:56
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    OTOH, I think that these paragraphs help set up a background for the following ones. They explain why that strategy is the one @virolino has chosen over time...
    – OldPadawan
    Dec 11, 2021 at 16:04

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