Should You Give Advice Encouraging Others Not to Spend?

No. Never.

Let's start with advice-giving in its worst form: unsolicited advice. It's never a good idea to give unsolicited advice. Sure, you can try to convince people to do something other than what they want--but they're just going to do what they want anyway. By imposing your values on others (no matter how awesome you might think your values are), you're being both annoying and sanctimonious. Doubly pointless.

To repeat: do not give unsolicited advice.

But as we'll soon see, even if someone directly asks you for advice, it's still not a good idea to give advice.

Here's why. Whenever you give overt advice, whether requested or not, it usually creates the opposite of what you intend. Once you understand that everybody has an ego, that everybody suffers to some extent from not invented here syndrome, you begin to understand a rather twisted truth: when you try to "help" with advice (again, solicited or not), most people respond with reactance rather than agreement.

Therefore, by encouraging frugality in others, you actually influence people to spend more. Disturbing to say the least.

I know you didn't mean it. You never meant to produce this twisted contra-result with your heartfelt, well-meaning frugality advice. But to paraphrase the movie Unforgiven: I didn't mean it's got nothing to do with it.

Thus it is critical to observe carefully the actions and reactions of others after you give out encouragement or advice. If they respond with reactance-based or not invented here-type responses such as:

"I know that already"
"I tried that and it didn't work"
"Sure, that's easy for you, but..."
"I'm too busy to do XYZ"

...then it's time to shut up. You've already said way too much.

Then again, if you want to have some fun and actually produce positive results, forget the advice and switch to reverse psychology. Say something like "You want to save more money? It's probably gonna be too difficult for you." Or perhaps phrased more diplomatically: "It's really just too hard for the average person."

For a shocking percentage of people, well more than half, these reverse-psychology statements will be far more effective than actually saying what you mean. Why? Because your statement of doubt produces reactance in others. It makes them want to prove that you're wrong to doubt them!

In other words, your reverse psychology produces the result they (and you) actually want. Yes, this is weird and a little twisted. But it doesn't change the fact that it's true.

Finally, a thought for any readers resisting the admittedly counter-intuitive idea of using reverse psychology to positively impact others. And this goes double for any reader who considers doing so to be somehow insulting or condescending.

Ask yourself which is more caring: to produce a positive, helpful response in someone... or a negative, unhelpful response? Is it in any way caring or loving to produce in someone a response that observably does not help them?

Remember, this is about the success and effectiveness of the other person. It's not about you and the type of reaction you think they should have.



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ALSO: "Nobody Listens to Me in Real Life, But on the Internet Everyone Does"


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