Five Reasons Why People Don't Listen to Advice

Updated on August 2, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Based on his studies of social behavior and his personal experience, Glenn writes articles about improving life and emotional well-being.

Do you get frustrated when you try to help friends solve their problems and they don’t accept the advice? It may be totally impossible to help people when they are in denial and refuse to listen to reason.

I’ll explain what I had learned about people who don't want to take advice and I’ll give you five reasons why they don’t, as I figured out from repeated circumstances.

Source


Many people come to me for advice, but when I try to offer positive guidance I find that there are two attitudes people have:

  1. There are those who accept the advice, but do nothing with it. They never follow up and I have noticed these people rarely succeed at accomplishing anything. They usually end up making their lives miserable instead.

  2. Then there are those who consider the advice, think it through, and do something with it. Many with this attitude even go beyond my suggestion. I see these people improving their lives.


I get frustrated when a friend lets things go downhill, especially when I offer a solution. I explain how to avoid the problems developing in their lives, but they let it happen anyway. They ignore the advice and my predictions come true.

There is nothing that can be done for these people. Many times I need to back off and sadly watch them sink deeper into trouble. I think that’s what they really want. I’ll explain what I mean with a couple of examples.

Some people set themselves up for failure. I have noticed that these types of people will never listen to a friend giving advice. They are somehow programmed to continue their path towards failure.

The way I see it, they don’t think it through. They just let their lives deteriorate. They don’t do anything to improve their lives or to solve their own problems.


How Do People Perceive Their Reality?


I think people who don't take advice see their reality differently.

  • We look at their lives with the clarity that comes from being uninvolved.
  • They observe things as they wish it would be, and they miss what's important.


They are totally involved in their own affairs, so they tend to distort reality to suit their own needs with their own personal boundaries.

We can show them the direction, but they need to start by taking responsibility for their own actions. Some will never recognize that they create their own failures. I consider this a narcissistic trait.


Narcissistic Example


I have a friend with diabetes. He likes to walk around barefoot.

I told him that with the diabetes he could get gangrene if he steps on something and gets an infection. I explained that he could lose a foot.

His ex-wife gave him slippers, but he was so upset we told him what to do that he threw them out.

One day he threw something at a wall out of anger, shattering it into pieces. One day he stepped on the debris and got an infection. He ended up having his foot amputated.

Source

Disagreeing with the Reason for the Advice Due to Denial


If someone takes the responsibility for their own failures, they can adjust their behavior and plan a new strategy. They have no problem accepting any new ideas presented to them.

However, if they are in denial, then they will not see the usefulness of the advice. They are stuck with their inability to solve problems. They will disagree when we try to help them and come up with all sorts of reasons why they should not listen to sound advice.

One reason I noticed that people remain in denial and don’t listen is because they lack the skills necessary to think it through–to plan a solution. In addition, when a solution is presented to them, they don't see it.

Even when telling them how to solve their problem, they will disagree with the reasons for taking action. They are frightened of change and they are unwilling to try something different.

Sad to say, I see this attitude with friends who are going nowhere with their lives. Their present way of doing things isn't working, but they come up with excuses and they argue that it's because of other reasons beyond their control. I call this denial.


Example of Denial


A friend with an accounting business asked for advice. She told me she wouldn’t be able to pay her rent because she’s losing clients.

I told her that her office was making a bad impression. I recommended that she clean up her office. I explained that an orderly office would imply an orderly tax report.

She argued that she had no clients because everyone is using TurboTax.

She didn’t clean up, had no clients, couldn’t pay the rent, her landlord evicted her and she lost her business.


Five Reasons Why People Don't Take Advice


There are many reasons why people don’t listen. Having given some thought to this and observing the outcome with friends who don't listen, I have narrowed it down to five reasons...

[1] They don't value their own life or their business:

I think people will make time for the things they value. I know I do.

My friend who lost his foot didn’t value his own life. I really have to believe that. The accountant didn’t value her business.

[2] They have a fear of success:

This is a well-known one. I can think of things I’ve avoided for fear of success. However, as far as I can tell, it’s really fear of the unknown.

Whenever I had avoided something early in life, it was because I didn’t know the outcome. Somewhere along the way I started to notice that things always turned out okay. That gave me the courage to get involved with new and unknown things.

The main problem I see with people who fear success is that they are hoping it will all work out anyway – all by itself – one way or the other.

Hoping for a better tomorrow without doing anything to correct the problems of today, will never bring change. I try to tell friends this, but they still continue with hope and despair.

Source

[3] They are in denial:


Denial interferes with the ability to act rationally.

I had a female friend who told me her boyfriend proposed to her. From a previous discussion with him, I knew that he was going to want to live off her money. I warned her against marrying him. I even reminded her that she overheard the way he was talking about it. Nevertheless, she was in denial and refused to believe the truth.

A month after the wedding she called me, crying, and said they had a fight. I asked what happened. She told me he wanted her to pay all the bills. His reasoning was that they are living in her apartment so she should pay all the bills. Imagine that?

[4] They don't have a time perspective:

They have no clue of time span. These are the same people who are always late. Have you ever noticed that people who arrive late and keep people waiting also never succeed in achieving something that’s important to them in their own lives?

In order to accomplish tasks, we need to have a clear vision of how long it will take. Then we need to plan each step to fit the allotted time available.

If we ignore the problem and just let time pass, or if we don’t clearly figure out how long it will take to get from A to B, then we are doomed for failure.

I see this problem with some friends who say they understand what I’m telling them to do. They agree that it sounds like a solution to their dilemma. The only problem is, the next time I talk with them, they still haven’t started and the end is near.

[5] They want approval for doing things wrong:

I think this is the worst of all. An acquaintance I’ve known through my social circles once called and asked for help. She said she is being arrested.

I asked for details so that I can know how to help her. She explained that her boyfriend broke up with her and that she was calling him several times a day leaving messages asking for an explanation.

He had put out a restraining order and she still continued, so he put out a warrant for her arrest.

I responded with one simple question. I said, “I need to understand something, do you want me to help you?”

I needed to be sure that she indeedwanted help. She said she did.

Therefore, I proceeded to tell her what to do. I said, “Just stop. Stop calling him. Stop thinking about him. Stop and move on.”

She was extremely disappointed with me. She said she was hoping I would defend her and support her feelings. Instead she felt that I was attacking her.

Source


Oh, feelings. I feel for her. I feel for all my friends who don’t listen and suffer because of it. Don’t you? I have love and compassion when it fits, but I believe in tough love when they are going down hill and need to be woken up.

My only intention is to guide a friend to a better place. Many times they take it as an attack if I don't give them approval for the ways that are failing for them. How strange is that?

There are times when we must back off and realize that they don’t want help. They just want approval for failure.


Only friends can help you, but what you need is an enemy.

So I told her...

“I’m so sorry. I misunderstood. I thought you wanted help. I understand now that all you really want is support for failure. Only friends can help you, but what you need is an enemy. Someone who does not care for you will be glad to support your failure.”

I'll leave you with this video that sums it up quite well...

Well, I explained what I had learned about people who don't want to take advice. I also gave you five reasons why they chose not to take advice to improve their situations.

I'll leave you with this humorous video that sums it up quite well. Thanks for spending this time with me.

It's Not About The Nail - Video

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Glenn Stok

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      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        2 months ago from Long Island, NY

        Salcho - I can tell from your comment that you are a very intelligent person and that you are handling your depression very well.

        I agree with you that a casual friend cannot help people who are suffering from depression. As you said, they may be following “unhealthy paths of thought” that can cause them to “act in seemingly illogical ways.”

        Although it seems you have gotten this under control for yourself, I have to also agree that only professional help is best in such situations.

        One point that I need to clear up is the fact that I never said anyone is to far gone to be helped. However, I can see how you may have felt the need to interpret it that way. This is why it’s important to consider how things we say are inferred. This goes for friends who try to help, as well as for professional therapists.

        Thanks for sharing your views as this side of the argument is very important to understand.

      • profile image

        salcho 

        2 months ago

        I don't think labeling certain actions as failures because you disagree with their outcome is a good mindset to have. As you said people usually are resistant to advice due to more deeper reasons. Everyone's reality is very different. It's why politics can be so divisive.

        I've had trouble with coping with depression. My father tried the tough love approach. Inevitably other more kinder people helped me start on my path to improvement. The problem was he doesn't understand the individual reality of someone suffering from depression. There are certain unhealthy paths of thought that make these people act in seemingly illogical ways. These people may realize this but lack tools to change their thoughts because it is the only mode they have functioned in their whole life. The most effective way to deal with this is to gradually change these thought processes to more healthy ones. This of course is too demanding for one person such as a friend or acquaintance. Professional help is best in such situations.

        Inevitably you are not responsible for what actions others take. Inevitably it is up to the individual to search for help on their own. But the idea that someone is too far gone to be helped is a cruel way to think.

      • profile image

        LR 

        4 months ago

        This is helpful, insightful information.I can not tell you how much tjis helped me today. I care about people and find when they are going down roads that I can see clearly will cause them pain or financial issues. I give advice as they are complaining. The negative Sabatoging comments and sometimes rude tones begin tearing me down. I was having a problem stepping back for my own self preservation. Saying to myself poor them they can't know what they are doing..

        Thank you for helping me understand.

        I can now step back.

      • profile image

        Dawna Walker 

        4 months ago

        100% agreed! I have been dealing with this frustration for years. It seems that people think I am just coming off as condescending when I offer advice or a solution.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        4 months ago from Long Island, NY

        Meg, It’s a sad case that people like the one you describe are is such denial that they have the need to put down a friend who is trying to help.

        In addition, he only thinks about his own needs and doesn’t really want to learn how to achieve his goals. This is evident by the way he never offers any help to others, as you had noticed.

      • profile image

        Meg 

        4 months ago

        I offered an advice to my constantly complaining friend. He got mad at me and called me an arrogant know-it-all who "doesn't know his situation". It's like he wanted to punish me for being caring. Your article provides an amazing explanaition to this situation! Now I know he need the audience to listen to his complains, nothing more. His agressive reaction had a big impact on how I perceive him.

        What I've noticed is, that the same person NEVER offers any advice to me.

        Thank you for a great article, I should read it long time ago, so I would save some times and nerves!

        Best regards!

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        6 months ago from Long Island, NY

        GS - I understand your concern and your need let go. That's the right thing to do when dealing with someone like that. Worrying about him is not healthy for you. His choice is his and you should not let his decision affect your health. Venting is good.

      • profile image

        GS 

        6 months ago

        I needed to read this article. This afternoon, for the umpteenth time, my best friend did not ask for my advice on a financial purchase/decision, even though he has already declared bankruptcy once and his wife was fired from her job, 2 weeks ago, AGAIN. Actually, he did not even tell me what he was doing until I asked him why I hadn't heard from him. When he told me he was buying another vehicle (it's a very complicated story involving his wife, DWI, paying fines), I texted "Oh" and left it at that. I don't want to talk to him again today.

        He cannot even balance a bank account, and won't allow me to help him, even though I have a masters degree in finance and accounting. Anytime I give advice on retirement funds, he tells me that he has nothing to worry about, that the state will take care of his pension fund. I don't think he even has any idea of how much or little he has in his fund.

        It should not bother me at all but he really irks me with his financial decisions and I need to let go, NOW. Even though we are best friends, he doesn't listen to a word I say about finances.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        7 months ago from Long Island, NY

        JS - You make some important points, and I agree with you that different approaches come across differently based on the person it’s meant for. For this reason, someone giving advice needs to understand and appreciate the emotional wherewithal of the other person. Otherwise their advice might be in vain.

        As for your last question: yes, respect goes a long way—for both sides for that matter.

      • profile image

        JS 

        7 months ago

        I have tried this tough love approach with varying success. It can work very well for some people. And can seem callous and abrasive to others.

        My question is what if two people (myself & another person) offer the exact identical same advice to someone and they choose to listen to the other person? Would you say tough love approach works, or would you maybe suggest a more tailored approach (invisible hand). I do think the person accepting the advice needs to have some respect for the advisor,no? Otherwise it will not resonate.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        7 months ago from Long Island, NY

        Gabriella - You mentioned some interesting examples why people come up with all sorts of reasons for refusing to accept advice even when they ask for it.

        Another that I recently encountered: I gave the same advice that two other people gave and the recipient of that advice thought we were plotting against her since our advice matched one another. We didn't even know each other! The duplication of the advice should have been taken as proof that it has value.

      • profile image

        Gabriella 

        7 months ago

        Good afternoon. Just came forward with the article today, as I'm experiencing lack of interest in people for listening and understanding when it comes to terms regarding the article... I mean people asking me for advice and at the end, I will be the one who really need some help, because these other people with their negativity drive me crazy. Strongly agree with the author. Why people ask for help, when they already had the answer in mind? Do they just want to argue? Or want to blame their failure on someone else? Advice or lecture? Even a lecture contains important informations and solutions for the given questions. Even a lecture reflect certain people's views, they just can't present in a "human" manner. Like today. A friend asked me for some advice. I've tried hard to help, but she's telling she's done it, done it, done it. She wanted to see something new. Asked for it, I gave it. Then she struggled with the new information and another person came to her help, had a strong agreement between the two . Result? They were cheering up above my failure, that I couldn't succeed with my advice and they accounted the person's failure that would have been mine... as I would be the one who gave the wrong advice, who has the failure. I could run out from the world. Why ask, when acceptance doesn't exist? Why ask, when you all have the answer in mind and advice unacceptable?

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        8 months ago from Long Island, NY

        Ziad - True, assuming the advice is not good, or if the advisor has a hidden agenda. These are always possibilities.

        Having said that, if the advice is genuine and useful, denial is something that can be destructive. It can disrupt ones ability to be successful or to avoid problems–as with the examples I gave in this article.

      • profile image

        Ziad 

        8 months ago

        What about if you have a logical reason for not accepting advice, that is you disagree with the logic of the advice given? That to me should be a reason for not taking advice. It is one of the obvious ones.

      • profile image

        punchy101 

        10 months ago

        Excuse me. But even kids do hate getting advice. I'm sorry but yes they secretly feel that way. If psychologists use this kinda technique to help their patients who refuse to take advice, man would this world be doomed.

        There's a thin line between giving a good advice vs trying to lecture them on what to do.

        If I was married to someone and I received a bunch of advice from the person who has never dated someone before, that'd be an insult. Sometimes people just want to feel listened. Everybody is capable to solve their own problems. They just need to be directed without knowing that they are being directed. If someone wants to commit suicide, you can't give them a bunch of advice telling them "100 reason to not give up on life". No. It won't help them. And they'll continue to do what they've been planning to do. Sometimes it's the people who try too hard to prove that their advice is bomb, have the most ego problems. A know-it-all, maybe? It's just hard to resist giving the advice we think is smart. Of course, we all love to sound intelligent.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        10 months ago from Long Island, NY

        Better off - Good points you made. That last one is very useful, telling them if they can afford dealing with the outcome if they don't change behavior. That may wake them up.

      • profile image

        Better off not better than 

        10 months ago

        You nailed it ! Ha ha video made laugh so much.

        What a sweet thing it is have good counsel, grasp it and see it through to prosper.

        Alas, I can still hear the echoes of good and timely advice that I didn't take.

        The times I followed bad advice from friends who didn't have my best interests at heart were devastating until I realised I could change up to friends who did.

        Confusion -sometimes I just can't grasp what people are advising me.

        When I am in a super anxious state even to the point of dissociating I need my advisors to deal patiently with that first to bring me to a place of calm and focus and then encouragingly advise me with great and simple clarity.

        If I decide to advise others I speak with my suggestion tone or my advice tone depending on the importance of the event.

        I like to give options much like you'd said to the diabetic.

        "If you do it this way then this is most likely to happen but if you do/don't do it this other way then this other outcome is likely to happen." And then I ask questions that require practical answers.

        "Do you have enough to cover medical expenses and rehab/ home help/transport when/should you become an amputee?"

        On a lighter more suggestive note "Do you want to whine or do you really want to win?

        Cheers!

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        19 months ago from Long Island, NY

        Deborah Demander - It's sad, isn't it? I find it happens often that a friend asks for advice, and then rejects it out of fear of the unknown. Sometimes I wonder why they even ask.

      • Deborah Demander profile image

        Deborah Demander 

        19 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

        Great article. I agree, that many people are afraid of success and sabotage themselves out of fear.

        Thanks for writing.

        Namaste

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        19 months ago from Long Island, NY

        Bharat - You said this very well. Some people never get passed the point where you woke up and discovered the power of listening. I like how you called it a paradigm shift. How true!

      • profile image

        Bharat 

        19 months ago

        I grew up in life, 'not listening', meaning, hearing, but not implementing (listening). I faced many issues and continued to, not listen. However, later in life I practiced, listening and implementing. Listening, needs common sense and progress in life and relationships would be so much better. It's about a paradigm shift. We are STUCK with our way of thinking and many of us do not want to embrace change of any kind. It's not just advice what people ask for, it's about just PURE listening habit. "When you sleep do not keep your mobile on your night table", this would not be followed by most of the children and adults. Stop sign says STOP and what is so difficult to understand that. People still roll and they DO NOT STOP! They get a ticket and damn....."I was just this and that...and bla bla... To listen is DIVINE!

      • Kathryn L Hill profile image

        Kathryn L Hill 

        2 years ago from LA

        Its so sad because the first six years are the make and break years.

        Oh well, thanks for your insights.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        2 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Kathryn L Hill - Yes, Ego tends to stand in the way of success in many cases.

      • Kathryn L Hill profile image

        Kathryn L Hill 

        2 years ago from LA

        My daughter tells me I am intimidating him and reducing his sense of manhood.

        I say it is his sense of ego!

        Ego seems to reign here.

        In all people this is the one thing blocking the light.

        I would say.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        2 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Kathryn L Hill - That's a good example of how people think they know better and are not open to hearing suggestions. Sorry to hear you're having that trouble with your son and his wife about child rearing. Maybe you can give him real-life examples that you might have had with him when he was a child. Maybe that might help him see your point.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        2 years ago from Long Island, NY

        moonlake - Isn't that simply terrible? I'm frustrated with that too. People always ask for advice but then get annoyed when they don't like what they hear. It's unfortunate for them. They will forever remain in a losing battle. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      • Kathryn L Hill profile image

        Kathryn L Hill 

        2 years ago from LA

        My son will not listen to me in regards to child rearing. He knows it all!

        I just want to help him be proactive and avoid some of the mistakes all new parents make, (he and his wife have a two year old.) All my advice does is create resistance.

        So yes , I look at it often.

        Thanks again.

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 

        2 years ago from America

        A friend once asks me to give her advice on why she was having problems with her teenage daughter. I told her she needed to be home more. It wasn't fair for this child to always be babysitting the four younger ones. She walked in the door from school her mother walked out. Her mother was more involved in the community projects rather than in her child.

        She didn't like me telling her that even though it was true.

        Giving small suggestions doesn't work either.

        Enjoyed your hub and everything you said is true.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        2 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Sherry Hewins - Your description of your brother's response sounds like my item 2 to 3 that I discussed in this hub. Either he has a fear of success or he's in denial. Either of these brings out his excuses. I agree with you that it's very frustrating. I've walked away from frustration after friends I've tried to help would dig themselves deeper into failure.

      • Sherry Hewins profile image

        Sherry Hewins 

        2 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

        In my experience, giving advice is generally a waste of time. No matter how great the advice is, most people do not like being told what they should do. They feel like they are having their decisions and life criticized.

        I have been very frustrated with my brother lately. Suggestions for improving his circumstance are met with a million excuses why they won't work.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        2 years ago from Long Island, NY

        letstalkabouteduc - Well said! It must be very difficult and frustrating for therapists, life coaches and mentors to give advice.

      • letstalkabouteduc profile image

        McKenna Meyers 

        2 years ago from Bend, OR

        That video says it all. It has been said many times that men want to solve problems and women want to talk about them. But it's certainly not that clear cut. I'm much more like the man on the video -- pull out the God damn nail for Pete's sake! That's why I don't give advice anymore. It's a waste of time. I now listen (for a limited time) and try to help them find their own solutions, which is usually doing nothing. I certainly don't have the patience to be a therapist. I'd just want to scream: "Get on with it! Life is too short to let your problems define you!"

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        peachpurple - I know several people who would rather hear what they want to hear instead of good advice. I try to avoid those people since they only waste our time complaining when things go wrong for not following the advice once given.

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 

        3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

        people love to listen sweet words not good advice. Even though my mother-in-law knows that siding her daughters and plotting against her own sons are not advisable, she still prefer to listen bad advices

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        timorous - Great explanation Tim, and very well said. I like your way of saying that willpower is needed to get over the ego problem. When I try to help people who ask for help, I see that their ego is what gets in the way of accepting advice even though they had asked for it.

      • timorous profile image

        Tim Nichol 

        3 years ago from Me to You

        The biggest problem is that most people have no control of their mind. Their ego is mostly or largely in control. Since the ego has no concept of thinking 'outside the box', it keeps us tied to what we already know, and repeats it endlessly, unless we somehow overpower it temporarily with willpower. Also, people don't like being told what to do, since this may go against their own set of (self-limiting) beliefs, this again controlled by one's ego and life experiences.

        The other problem is that most people are not 'present'. Their minds are unconsciously focused on the past..regrets, guilt, resentment, etc. Also, on the future..worrying, fear, etc. All problems are created in the mind, since nothing in this world has any intrinsic meaning or importance.

        What you need to do is get rid of these self-limiting beliefs, and replace them with structured thought, rather than the chaotic mess the ego creates for you. Most self-improvement books tell you 'WHAT to think', which is not very effective, for the reasons I stated above. A very effective book called Creating a Bug-Free Mind will show you how to easily regain control of your mind, and show you 'HOW to think', and, as a consequence, effectively banish all the above problems, leaving you with a happy, stress-free life. No..I'm not exaggerating! Look it up if you're tired of being 'stuck'.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        DzyMsLizzy - That is a very good example of this type of behavior Liz, and very enlightening. Thanks for sharing that personal story. It seems to be a common theme among people who don't take advice. Their failure to accept advice actually goes against their own complaints about problems in their lives, but they don't seem to see that. As was the case with your son-in-law. Thanks for the vote up.

      • DzyMsLizzy profile image

        Liz Elias 

        3 years ago from Oakley, CA

        Gee--some of your examples sound like my son-in-law! He was shopping for a new car a few years back. My husband told him to call when he was ready to make the purchase, and that he would help him get the best price.

        Instead, he went alone, and way over-paid for a stripped-down model.

        And this is a guy who is always worrying about 'the budget,' and cheapskating on other things that are necessary.

        I know all too well about the excuses game. This same man gripes about his commute--but, with many years experience, and a demand for the type of work he does being universal, hubby advised him to start his own business locally. Oh, no--that wasn't possible, because of s, t,u,v,w,x,y,z reasons....

        I had a music teacher once, who expressed it this way: "I can't means I won't."

        Voted up, interesting and useful.

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        Audrey.....I would be so lucky to have you as a sister! I'll never figure out some people....I think they merely like to play games to seek attention. After a while, we learn to just ignore them. It's much healthier! :)

      • vocalcoach profile image

        Audrey Hunt 

        3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

        Paula

        I lost my hair trying to deal with my sister! :) Like I said, I'm not giving her any advice anymore. Why on earth do people ask for advice when they know they won't follow it? Urghhhhh.

        Love you,, Paula.

        Audrey

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        fpherj48 - It is indeed frustrating, Paula. The same advice somehow is interpreted in different ways depending on who is giving the advice. I don't understand that either.

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        Glenn....You have spoken the absolute truth! I often hesitate to give advice when it is requested because via experience I have learned that people will readily lash out that my advice was terrible (even though they did not follow it correctly).....BUT, if they have success based on my advice, I will not get a thank you or an ounce of credit...GO FIGURE!

        Personally, I am always open to friendly advice........appreciative of all the help offered.

        Audrey.....I feel your frustration. I had a friend who would reject my advice, and then days or weeks later, tell me that someone else gave them SPECTACULAR advice.......AND IT IS IDENTICAL TO THE ADVICE I GAVE THEM PREVIOUSLY....THAT THEY REJECTED!! Pull your hair out anyone?? LOL

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        vocalcoach - It seems there are few like you and me. I also appreciate when someone gives me advice that helps me learn something I may be missing. It's sad that so many people would rather have the drama in their life that could be eliminated if they would just accept the warnings from others. Thanks, Audrey, for all the votes and the sharing.

      • vocalcoach profile image

        Audrey Hunt 

        3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

        Fantastic hub Glenn. Reminds me of my sister. She will ask for my advice and then respond with a million different reasons why my advice is a bad idea. :) After years of hoping to help her with the drama in her life, I've stopped trying to help her.

        Change is uncomfortable for many people. I, myself welcome advice and love to learn and grow daily.

        Thanks for this very helpful hub and I voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and will do plenty of sharing.

        Audrey

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        You are so right Jackie. And it gets worse. They remain in denial even after the terrible predictions come true. My friend who lost his foot, as I predicted, now blames the world for imposing such as terrible thing on him. One just can't help these types of people.

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 

        3 years ago from The Beautiful South

        It may be a bit mean hearted but it seems to me people who will not listen to advice deserve what they get. Many do not even learn after seeing they should have like the guy who lost his foot. It is very hard to have pity but in another way it is like they are mentally challenged! They simply cannot listen and take advice. ?

        Great article... since we all know these some of these people.

        ^+

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        @MDavisatTIERS - Thank you Marilyn for that wonderfully nice compliment. The praise on my accomplishment with this hub means a lot coming from you, one who has so many recognized achievements. Yes, I read your profile. And thanks so much for tweeting about it.

      • MDavisatTIERS profile image

        Marilyn L Davis 

        3 years ago from Georgia

        Good evening, Glenn. I'll return the compliment - Wow. This is an excellent article on many types of self-defeating behaviors and attitudes. Well thought out; illustrations reinforce the message, and a message I've talked about in my work with addicts and alcoholics for about 26 years. Voted up and shared. ~Marilyn

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        3 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Hendrika - That's a good observation of yours, that we have no control over how people think. That's why we just have to let them make their own mistakes. Some learn the hard way, and some suffer tremendously because they refuse to acknowledge their own lessons. For this reason I only offer to help someone when they specifically ask for help. Thanks for your comment and meaningful observation.

      • Hendrika profile image

        Hendrika 

        3 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

        I often find that people take advice as interfering in their life. Unfortunately, something I have learnt in life is that you have no control over someone's thinking and that is where the problem lies. You are correct that the solution is more obvious from the outside.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        4 years ago from Long Island, NY

        billybuc - I know why you don't have that problem Bill. It's because you're an intelligent person who understands the advantage of learning from those who are more experienced. Just as you said. It's an easy decision for me too. I'm always glad when someone can point out something that I was wrong about.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        4 years ago from Olympia, WA

        What an interesting discussion. I don't know why, but I have always sought out advice from those more experienced. I don't have a problem with ego and I want to learn...makes it a pretty easy decision for me.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        4 years ago from Long Island, NY

        mgt28 - Thank you for sharing that feeling about fear of success. Both success and failure are usually feared because it is an unknown.

      • mgt28 profile image

        mgt28 

        4 years ago

        Fear of success is a real concern even with me. When I see something great that can give me success I get seized by fear. I could not explain this as much as you did.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        4 years ago from Long Island, NY

        mailxpress - I've had friends who whined about their self-inflicted problems. But I usually end up breaking ties with them when I realize they are going nowhere. We need healthy people in our lives.

        It's not healthy to include people who make problems for themselves and who refuse to change negative behavior that they themselves complain about. It's amazing how many I run into who are like that.

        Look at it this way - you didn't lose those friends - you improved your own life by staying away. I'm always glad to help those who truly want help. But I feel it's better to stay away from those who just want me to approve of their destructive behavior.

      • mailxpress profile image

        Michelle Cesare 

        4 years ago from New York

        I enjoyed this topic. When I was younger I felt like a failure all the time, sought attention but got the wrong kind of attention. About the age of 30 I made many changes and started to like myself more than I ever did before. I figured out my problem, set a plan of action and fixed what I did not like.

        I have friends who fall the victim, always have it hard, talk but never take action and for some reason can not make life better for themselves. I've lost a few friends because I would just come out and say, you know what needs to be done to fix it. They got tired of me telling them you don't want advice nor do you want to change for the better. Always an excuse. They just seemed to want me to listen to them whine and bitch but the problems they were having and still have are self inflicted.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        4 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Rose, That's why I feel it's so important to ask first. As I said in the 5th example in my article, I asked "do you want me to help you?"

      • profile image

        Rose 

        4 years ago

        I hate getting advice... That is, unless I ask for it. I don't think its fair for a friend to assume they know better- most of the time people with problems of this magnitude are there because they couldn't follow their own advice... They've probably thought it through more than you. Or are probably aware of what you think is their weakness.

        Pointing shit out is unnecessary and assumes even more faults with the person. Making yourself feel better by 'not idly standing by to watch them fall' is stupid and can be countered with the simple words 'is there any way I can help?'

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        4 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Say Yes To Life - Interesting thought you have there. I think that it takes a wise person to know the importance of having an open mind so that they can accept advice.

      • Say Yes To Life profile image

        Yoleen Lucas 

        4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

        My understanding about advice is that the wise don't need it and the fools don't heed it.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        4 years ago from Long Island, NY

        jainismus - I wouldn't exactly consider them to be negative people. They are troubled and they don't know how to get out of their rut. The ego, as you mentioned, can have a powerful influence on their inability to listen to reason. That's a great point you brought up. Thanks.

      • jainismus profile image

        Mahaveer Sanglikar 

        4 years ago from Pune, India

        Great analysis of negative people. Many times they have ego problem and advice hurts their ego.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        4 years ago from Long Island, NY

        alisha4u - Wow! A million dollars! I'll take it. :-) I'm glad you enjoyed what I had to say on the subject. Thanks for the comment.

      • alisha4u profile image

        alisha4u 

        6 years ago from New Delhi, India

        That's a million dollar Hub... Though, you may not get it literally...LOL !! :)

        But, on a serious note..I enjoyed it throughout. Thank you for sharing.

      • profile image

        furby 

        6 years ago

        What can I say? This article really nailed the mark as to why a some friends never bother to listen when they need help... the cycle repeats itself, and seeing them going down the road to failure and doing nothing about it is so annoying... they would make up an excuse and would be totally in denial! I am so glad I read this very helpful article!

      • tirelesstraveler profile image

        Judy Specht 

        6 years ago from California

        Some people just need to do it their own way regardless of the outcome. Heartbreaking to watch sometimes. My friend starved to death during chemotherapy because she didn't like the taste of food that would help her. She had always been a picky eater and it killed her.

      • Kathleen Cochran profile image

        Kathleen Cochran 

        6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

        I have had friends with Diebetis and I know it impacts their emotions (anger, judgement, etc.) Might be a factor with your friend.

        A friend of mine has a blind spot about her brother. He is a get rich quick sceamer. Following his advice has cost her everything, house, inheritance, cars. I just learned she has borrowed against a car she was given (paid for) when her Mom died. This coincides with her brother's latest sceam. Her friends have tried to warn her, but it's no use.

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        6 years ago from Long Island, NY

        Giselle Maine ~ That's an interesting idea to write an "Ask Glenn" column. But just as you say, I would think the same thing will happen. I have noticed time and time again that most people who ask for help don't really want to use the advice. They just satisfy their ego that they are trying to find solutions. But when the solutions are presented to them, they don't believe in them or simply don't care to use them for the reasons I spoke about in this Hub.

        There are situations where people truly search for knowledge and take advantage of the information they find. I see this with our local HubPages meetups that we have. Our members want to learn how to be successful writers on HubPages and they enjoy trading advice at our meetings. I run our local group (see the local meetup forum) and in that way I guess I am already doing what you suggested.

      • profile image

        Giselle Maine 

        6 years ago

        Your advice that you gave your friends was really good - I was wondering if you had ever thought of writing an "Ask Glenn" column (yes, seriously). It seemed you genuinely cared about your friend's problems and dispensed good advice with great foresight. Of course, the problem with an "Ask Glenn" column is that the same thing could arise there: people may not listen to your advice!

        By the way, one thing which one of my friends and I do, is that we trade advice in our own area of specialty. She is especially good at giving advice about planning events (e.g. parties etc), while I am good at giving advice about interpersonal issues. So we ask each other for advice on those topics. After a chat, we are both much happier! Trading advice works well because it's a 2-way street, so I think both parties are likely to listen to advice from the other if they know they are giving advice too. From the examples you gave here, you seem to be especially good at giving advice that is preventive (or prevents an existing problem from getting bigger) while setting the person on a good path for the future, across a wide range of topics. That is a fantastic skill to have. If there is ever an "Ask Glenn" column I will definitely be writing in when I need advice!

      • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

        Glenn Stok 

        6 years ago from Long Island, NY

        ananceleste ~ you have some very good points about how some people are visual and some are verbal. A good communicator needs to understand that.

        To answer your question... my diabetic friend never seemed to be worried. He had many other problems too that I, and many other friends, predicted years in advance unless he changed his ways. He never cared to make the changes er recommended to protect himself, and he blames his problems on the world.

        He is an extreme example. You can't just ask him if he wants a band aide, as you said. Or if he just wants you to listen. Just listening to someone talk about hurting himself and not trying to provide some kind of positive guidance I think is wrong.

      • ananceleste profile image

        Anan Celeste 

        6 years ago from California

        Interesting. I am a counselor and a very good friend to many. I see your point and frustration. I have to go through this every day. But you know what I have discovered that people learned and process information diferently. Some are visual, some are auditory learners, some are just folks that put their trust outside of themselves so their life can funtion. Habits, culture, educational level,mental and physical ilnesses,upbringing, social status, traumatic events, levels of trust and most important, every event is part of a collage of circumstances that dictate someones reaction to any given situation. I know that sometimes you want to choke them, because the answer seams so obvious, but keep in mind that a true friend would never throw salt on a wound, he would be there to ask " Need a band aid? And by the way, What have we learned?" This goes farther, you help by giving the advice,are there when they fall, and are part of the learning process.

        I wonder, was your diabetic friend more worried about what ever was making him angry or his neuropathic feet? People are emotional beings more than rational. Very interesting hub my friend.

      • Millionaire Tips profile image

        Shasta Matova 

        6 years ago from USA

        Yep, we all have friends like that. In fact, I think we've all been like that at one time or another. There are other reasons besides the ones you mentioned. One is that people may feel that they don't have any control. I keep eating because I don't have any self-control. I keep hoarding paper because I don't have the time to organize and file it. How can I stop calling him when I love him?

        The other reason has to do with improper thinking. If I don't wear slippers, maybe my wife will be more careful and try not to make me angry. If she loves me ...

        A lot of it has to do with the fact that our society doesn't encourage following the norms. It is good to be different, so there aren't many people who are telling them what you are telling them. There was a person who was angry that her doctor told her she was fat and it was hurting her health. It seemed like this was the first time she had heard this message.

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