The Perils of Giving Advice

The Wall Street Journal:

I know what you should do and here’s my advice.

How many times have you heard that (and groaned)?

Advice giving, especially unsolicited, is tricky. Being on the receiving end can be annoying and make us defensive. But giving advice can be frustrating, as well, particularly when the intended beneficiary of our wisdom makes it clear it isn’t welcome—or takes the same recommendations we’ve been giving for months from someone else. The whole advice issue is typically hardest to navigate with the person we know the best: our spouse or partner.

Men and women tend to experience different emotions when they receive advice from a partner, says Anna Ranieri, a psychologist in Palo Alto, Calif., and co-author of “How Can I Help? What you Can (and Can’t) Do to Counsel a Friend, Colleague or Family Member with a Problem.” When wives offer guidance, husbands often feel reprimanded or nagged. Yet when the advice comes from the husbands—who are more likely to give tangible, fix-it type suggestions to a problem—it is common for wives to feel that they are being condescended to or seen as incapable.

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal

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