On giving advice

On giving advice

I've been thinking a lot about my interactions towards others. I found a comment on Hacker News that really resonates with me.

I've learned that people hardly ever want advice. Mostly, they want you to tell them that everything is okay.

The hard thing to square is, if you really care about someone, and you really think you have some input that could help them, you need to figure out how to communicate that without annoying them / hurting their feelings.

It's also important not to have an ego when giving advice / input. It's likely that you're not perfectly correct.
  • Most people don't really want to hear your advice.
  • People already know what needs to be done to solve their problems, they either aren't ready to face that reality or pretend they don't know.
  • You likely aren't right, for most non-trivial or subjective matters nobody is.
  • You also don't have the full picture to jump to judgements.
  • Everyone just wants someone to hear them out, care and tell them that everything's okay – even if that's false. That's all.

Sergio Mattei

Founder and student