Why do miserable people dislike being given advice?

  1. When giving people advice there are two requirements for it to be valuable and valued:
  • It has to be invited.
  • You have to understand the background for what you are advising on.
    It sounds like you’re dishing out advice to people who don’t want it without understanding what the problem actually is. That does not sound like something a reasonable person would want to do.

If you think that you have some sort of right to save someone from themselves, you have to approach the situation with care and respect AND be sure that you understand enough about the human condition to have something to contribute. Judging from the fact that you needed to ask the Internet the question above, I am not convinced that the latter precondition is fulfilled, and I very much doubt that you’re capable of the former.

So, now you were given advice that was not exactly what you wanted. Are you capable of taking this to heart, or are you so miserable you disliked it?

  1. If you’re depressed, having people come up and tell you ‘good advice’ will just make you feel more miserable. It is usually something you already heard or know, but struggle to do or actually failed at it. You’re just reminding them they’re not doing something you think they should be doing and that they’re failing at living life properly.

Once you get stuck in the cycle of failure, self-deprecation, self-criticism, self-defeating coping, it is not productive to hear what you’re not doing right according to others as well. It just ads on the self-loathing.

You’re better off finding something to do together without putting pressure on accomplishments, and yes, giving advice is enough to trigger that anxiety and fear of failure.

  1. Consider a person who has a problem: overweight, smoking, drinking. It is likely that they have tried a number of things and have not had any success. The programs they try feature ads of people who have been successful and they realize that is likely all their fault that they have failed. Or they haven’t tried anything at all, and know very well that they should.

So, they don’t like to be told what they already know. Depressives are people who might react somewhat violently to advice on cheering up. And some of those can really be dangerous.

Giving advice should be reserved in most cases to when the person asks for it.

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