Glenn Stok studies topics on self-awareness and emotional well-being and writes about it to help others with mindfulness and self-doubt.
Do you get frustrated when you try to help friends solve their problems, and they don’t accept the advice? It may be 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.
Many people come to me for advice, but when I try to offer positive guidance, I find that there are two attitudes people have:
- Some 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.
- Then some consider the advice, think it through, and do something with it. Many people 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 of doom come true.
There is nothing that we can do 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 individual needs with their personal boundaries.
We can show them the direction, but they need to start by taking responsibility for their actions. Some will never recognize that they create their own failures. I consider this a narcissistic trait.
Example of Narcissistic Behavior
I have a friend with diabetes, and he likes to walk around barefoot.
I told him that with 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. He later stepped on the debris and got an infection. He ended up having his foot amputated.
Disagreeing With Advice Due to Denial
If someone takes 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 value 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.
I noticed that people remain in denial and don’t listen 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 poor impression. I recommended that she clean up her office. I explained that an uncluttered 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
Now that I described a couple of behavior patterns, I thought of the many reasons people don’t listen. By observing this behavior with friends, I have narrowed it down to the following 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.
Referring to the two examples above: My friend, who lost his foot, didn’t value his life. I have to believe that. And my accountant friend didn’t value her business.
2. They have a fear of success:
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 hope it will all work out anyway—all by itself—one way or the other.
Hoping for a better tomorrow without doing anything to correct today's problems will never bring change. I try to tell friends this, but they still continue with hope and despair.
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. I knew he was going to want to live off her money, based on a previous discussion I had with him.
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 despairingly, and said they had a fight. I asked what happened. She told me that 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:
These are the same people who are always late. Have you ever noticed that people who arrive late and keep others waiting, never succeed at achieving something meaningful in their own lives?
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 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 she called him several times a day, leaving messages asking for an explanation.
He had put out a restraining order, and she continued, so he put out a warrant for her arrest.
I responded with a straightforward question. I said, “I need to understand something. Do you want me to help you?”
I needed to be sure that she indeed wanted 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.
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 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 sympathize with all my friends who don't listen and suffer because of it. I have love and compassion when it fits, but I believe in tough love when going downhill and needing to be woken up.
My only intention is to guide a friend to a better place. They often 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 wish to have approval for their failure.
This humorous video sums it up
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 accept help 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. I hope I made things clearer for you.
Questions & Answers
Question: My friend gives me advice, but she gets really mad when I give her any. What should I do about my friend's reaction to my advice?
Answer: It’s not always a two-way street. You are open to suggestions because you want to grow and improve your success with your endeavors. However, your friend may not be in the same mindset. She is not ready for growth. She may be in denial, and it’s not easy to get past that without making her resent you.
It would help if you made her feel you were supportive. Ask your friend if she is open to hearing advice. In many cases, you need to leave people alone. It’s best to avoid any attempt to help them if they aren’t ready for it.
I wrote another article that will provide more insight to answer your question. "How to Give Advice When Friends Ask for Help." ( https://pairedlife.com/friendship/giving-advice-to... ) — I discuss how you need to be supportive, and know when to leave people alone and not try to help them if they are not open to hearing advice.
Question: I tried to give my daughter some suggestions for coping with anxiety that are well known and I've used myself. Her reply was, "I can't be bothered," and she hung up the phone on me. It's so frustrating to talk to her. I feel I'm not helping or supporting her, and she tells me that sometimes. I'd love to find some middle ground. Do you think there's any way to do that when they cut you off if you're not saying what they want to hear?
Answer: It isn't easy to get through when all they want is for you to side with them rather than guide them. Your daughter is still in the "denial" stage.
Unfortunately, you will alienate her if you try to push through that as long as she is in that stage. Intelligent people eventually learn from their mistakes, and then they will seek advice rather than confirmation. Your daughter is smart because she is your daughter, so she will get there. When she does, she will come to you for guidance.
In the meantime, it's best if you ask her what she wants from you. When people ask me for help, I first reply by asking if they want guidance or if they just want an ear to listen to their woes. Sometimes that question wakes them up. But even if it doesn't, they will respond with more appropriate behavior rather than hanging up the phone on you.
© 2012 Glenn Stok
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 22, 2020:
Jacqui, You’re absolutely right that people may respond defensively when they feel powerless or threatened.
That’s why I mentioned that I need to ask, “Do you want me to help you?” It does no good to try to help someone who is in denial for any of the reasons I discussed.
Thanks for your thoughtful and meaningful analysis.
Jacqui on July 22, 2020:
When you say it as giving a person advice they won’t take from you, therefore they will suffer because they didn’t listen.. this itself comes across rather narcissistic. You are taking away their power by saying you have all the right answers that they should listen to you. People when put in a situation where they feel powerless and threatened will sometimes respond defensively whether the advice is good or not.
People need to have a chance to think about why something is a good decision for them and make empowered and informed their decisions where they don’t need to feel they must be dependent and incapable of formulating decisions themselves.
In the therapy domain, it is advised not to act as the ‘advice giver’ but encourage them to come to a realisation themselves. This is usually more effective. If we’re giving advice to someone we need to leave the saviour complex, we are the all knowing idea behind and never take away someone else’s sense of self esteem in the situation.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 26, 2020:
Jackie - I know people like that too. We can't help them. They need to be willing to help themselves first.
Jackie on January 01, 2020:
Thank you so much for this! The nail video summed it up so we'll. I have a friend who needs an operation and needs to loose the weight. The doctor has been waiting three years! 3! Still the patient won't and refuses to lose weight. Now the friend is wanting by pass surgery. That's bit going to help as the person eats a ton of food daily and needs to lose the weight for the operation. I saw the friend and still no improvement. Now it's going on the 4tg year. Besides all the family is morbidly obese. It saddens me none of them listen. You are right. They hope things get better but don't want to work to make it better. Now I understand. I'm just going to back off these people with advise and shut up. I myself refuse the food offered to me when u visit as I lost a lot of weight exercise and keep it off. I can't eat a ton of food on a plate I eat from a saucer size food plate and am full. Yes they have all kinds of ailments but keep on feeding themselves foods that are off limits. Now I have peace of mind knowing with your article I did all I can. Now I can focus more on me. Thank you so much.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on December 27, 2019:
jrodishere - I hear you! Toxic people have no business giving advice. Pointing out flaws is not helpful. Sounds like the people who try to give you advice don’t consider that there may be more than one solution to a problem, as you had indicated. Besides, not all advice is good advice.
I believe that I didn’t address that side of the issue in this article. That’s something to focus on with another article in the future.
jrodishere on December 27, 2019:
Alright, the reason why some people like me don't follow advice frequently is because it sounds like there is only one solution to solve problems, when there is multiple solutions that can work just as well. Basically, the advice is telling me: "do this, do that" like I'm some sort of dog. It's so annoying. The people I used to get advice from were incredibly toxic because I would wait for them to flame me and they would unnecessarily point out most of my flaws, while trying to give me advice that only had one perspective. If I do follow advice, it is usually from my bros.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 27, 2019:
P.S. - I’ve come to the same conclusion as you, and for the reason I discussed in this article. We don’t need to watch them get doomed. It’s better to just focus on other things, or on other people.
Spend more time with people who want to make something of themselves and achieve more than they presently do. That will also have a positive effect on you too.
Those who refuse to help themselves will only drag you down if you let them. Try to help if they ask for help. But quickly put your energy elsewhere if they prove that they really don’t want to help themselves.
P.S. on April 27, 2019:
Thank you for this article. I now fully understand why some people (one, in particular) just refuse to listen to sound advice and in effect is really a recipe for stress and failure for him. At least, now I don't blame myself and ask if there's something wrong with me. I've tried so many different ways to get my point through and yet he dismisses everything I tell him.
But isn't there any way to get through to these people? Do we just sit and watch them get doomed?
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 20, 2019:
Violet - Thank you for bringing up that important point. There are many reasons why emotionally healthy people don’t take advice, as I discussed in this article. Clinical depression is a whole different thing, as you alluded to. One needs to display understanding and optimism when offering advice to someone with depression who is asking for help. This provides a better chance for them to feel comfortable making an effort to carry out the suggestions being offered, and can help achieve positive results. Of course, this is an important consideration when trying to help anyone.
Violet on April 20, 2019:
The things you describe about your friends generally indicate mental illness and psychological patterning due to abuse or other circumstances. It sounds like you’re a smug person who’s never dealt with depression. Maybe that’s why they don’t take your advice.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on March 25, 2019:
M - I give you a lot of credit for verbalizing your thoughts and your frustrations. It’s wonderful to hear this expressed from the other side with such an intelligent dialog so that it can be better understood, and I thank you for that.
I do believe that you are doing your best, which is something we all try to achieve no matter what the issue in our lives.
M on March 25, 2019:
I am the friend that never takes advice. I was coming here to see what I am doing wrong and the last two points have perfectly articulated my problems. The other 3 as well but the last 2 are so difficult to get my mind around. I need to acquire a sense of time then? I don't know where to start. For the last one, the only small way I was able to understand was Glenn's response to the woman about needing an enemy, and still, my head is like a steel block very unwilling to incorporate this concept. I feel as if I'm doing my best, but things still end in tears and frustration. Even now considering this article I feel on a deep level myself trying to rebuke this information as not true. Nice article Glenn, pray for me (haha)
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on February 02, 2019:
Jade - That is a very common experience when one tries to help someone who is incapable of desiring growth. They look for excuses, even saying they went with someone else’s advice. However, in most cases they are treating the other adviser the same as you—ignoring their advice too.
Jade on February 01, 2019:
I've been getting extremely frustrated with a friend of mine recently, who comes to me with many problems and complaints about her life. I give her advice, as I've been in her situations and am a few years older and more experienced than her. However, she doesn't take my advice and just gives me a million excuses at the time, and is very combative and aggressive. Even really to the point of putting me down. Later on, I will hear her saying that 'so and so' gave her resources on a certain issue she came to me with. And that she will be using said resources that day. And I'm really at a loss as to why she will accept their advice and not mine. These people are even older than me, which is one thing, so I was thinking she may respect or trust their advice more. However that doesn't discount anything that I'm saying! And the way she states that she received help, is as if she's making me feel guilty for not helping her enough. I was really at a loss of what to do, because I seem to lose either way. Whether I try to help or I do nothing. Although she does have a lot of mental health issues which she is dealing with, which explains why she's very combative and down on herself. Thanks for the insightful article. I think she is in denial as well, and her ego is getting in the way. She is also afraid of change and success. I'm hoping she can find her way, although I may not be the one to help her do it.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 14, 2018:
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.
salcho on May 14, 2018:
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.
LR on March 16, 2018:
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.
Dawna Walker on March 10, 2018:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on February 17, 2018:
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.
Meg on February 17, 2018:
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!
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on December 30, 2017:
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.
GS on December 30, 2017:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on December 06, 2017:
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.
JS on December 06, 2017:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on November 20, 2017:
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.
Gabriella on November 20, 2017:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on November 13, 2017:
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.
Ziad on November 13, 2017:
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.
punchy101 on September 09, 2017:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on August 21, 2017:
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.
Better off not better than on August 21, 2017:
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?
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on December 13, 2016:
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 Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on December 13, 2016:
Great article. I agree, that many people are afraid of success and sabotage themselves out of fear.
Thanks for writing.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on December 08, 2016:
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!
Bharat on December 08, 2016:
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 from LA on January 19, 2016:
Its so sad because the first six years are the make and break years.
Oh well, thanks for your insights.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 19, 2016:
Kathryn L Hill - Yes, Ego tends to stand in the way of success in many cases.
Kathryn L Hill from LA on January 19, 2016:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on January 19, 2016:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on January 19, 2016:
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 from LA on January 18, 2016:
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.
moonlake from America on January 18, 2016:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on July 19, 2015:
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 from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 19, 2015:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on July 19, 2015:
letstalkabouteduc - Well said! It must be very difficult and frustrating for therapists, life coaches and mentors to give advice.
McKenna Meyers on July 19, 2015:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on March 15, 2015:
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.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on March 15, 2015:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on February 12, 2015:
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.
Tim Nichol from Me to You on February 12, 2015:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on February 10, 2015:
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.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on February 09, 2015:
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.
Suzie from Carson City on February 09, 2015:
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! :)
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 09, 2015:
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.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on February 08, 2015:
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.
Suzie from Carson City on February 08, 2015:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on February 07, 2015:
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.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 07, 2015:
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.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on February 07, 2015:
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 from the beautiful south on February 07, 2015:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on February 04, 2015:
@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.
Marilyn L Davis from Georgia on February 04, 2015:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on September 29, 2014:
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 from Pretoria, South Africa on September 29, 2014:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on July 02, 2014:
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.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 02, 2014:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on June 04, 2014:
mgt28 - Thank you for sharing that feeling about fear of success. Both success and failure are usually feared because it is an unknown.
mgt28 on June 04, 2014:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on December 03, 2013:
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.
Michelle Cesare from New York on December 02, 2013:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on November 29, 2013:
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?"
Rose on November 28, 2013:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on August 21, 2013:
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.
Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on August 20, 2013:
My understanding about advice is that the wise don't need it and the fools don't heed it.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on August 12, 2013:
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.
Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on August 12, 2013:
Great analysis of negative people. Many times they have ego problem and advice hurts their ego.
furby on February 10, 2012:
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!
Judy Specht from California on January 24, 2012:
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 from Atlanta, Georgia on January 22, 2012:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on January 19, 2012:
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.
Giselle Maine on January 19, 2012:
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 (author) from Long Island, NY on January 18, 2012:
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.
Anan Celeste from California on January 17, 2012:
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.
Shasta Matova from USA on January 17, 2012:
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.