One of the cornerstone of my site and my approach towards attracting women is authenticity. It’s the bedrock of how I approached my dating life in the last half of decade. One of the girls I used to date in Tokyo said to me: “Marcus, you aren’t really good at lying you know.” I simply laughed it off. I guess being bluntly honest is one of my charms.
I prided myself on honesty for years. When I went around my life, I would dish out the cold hard truth to everyone that came my way, friends or family, if that meant a strict no or harsh opinion, I would simply blurt it out.
- Blunt Honesty Can Make You Seem like an Asshole
However, being overly direct, blunt and honest can work against you.
Yes, honesty is authentic and polarizing, however, it’s NOT about being bluntly honest, it’s about being honest without being a jerk.
How to Give Good Advice that People Will Actually Take
Social intelligence is about being empathetic and sensitive towards the people you are interacting with. This is especially true in Asian culture, you need to be sensitive about what you’re talking about.
I figured that the majority of the people don’t crave advice, at least initially. Through the years when friends come up to me and ask me for advice on heartbreaks or relationships. Many times, they aren’t actually asking me for advice. They were asking me to listen, maybe take their side on their issues and be their friend.
MY version of being a good friend was giving the best advice that would help them. That simply means blunt honest advice.
However, it’s not about me or you, right?
- You Need to Be Sensitive to Culture
There were many instances where I made someone (usually a girl) tear up because I said something really blunt. Note, these were situations where they were asking ME for advice. In my eyes, I was doing them a huge favour. However, to them, I was seen as an asshole time and time again.
Culture also plays a role in the art of dishing out advice.
In some cultures, if you stick your head out too much, you may be socially punished. Hence you aren’t incentivized to speak out or give proper advice to your peers for the fear of social ostracization.
Singapore may be a Westernized Asian society, however culturally, she is still pretty much grounded in collectivistic values. Tolerance is highly valued as opposed to confrontation. Tolerance is a good value in itself, however, I’d argued that there won’t be any progress in relationships without a certain degree of confrontation.
- Not Everyone Genuinely Wants Your Advice
I used to go on angry rants when I see someone fucking up their relationship, making repeated mistakes such as going back to that ex that ruined them.
However, I realized that the majority aren’t looking for actionable advice. Einstein once was quoted saying that there will be true peace if it was attained by understanding and not by force.
However, how many people wish to truly understand?
This is why year after year, people treat the stock market like a gamble, stay overweight, stay in broken dysfunctional relationships and repeat a host of other problems.
In the subject of investing, I’ve always maintained my position consistently over years that 99% of day traders lose money, the majority of hedge funds don’t outperform the market, bitcoin is a poor form of investment and you’re best sticking to index funds as a retail investor. I used to go on long rants when someone says gold is a better investment than stocks and pointed countless to books, statistics and research.
I always felt that close friends should be able to give honest advice to each other. That’s the building block of a meaningful friendship. However, that form of friendship is not easy. You may be well meaning. However, not everyone wants to listen to your advice or open feedback. You may feel tempted to dish out advice for free amongst your friends, especially with something you are good at. From my experience, it’s much better to keep it to yourself.
These days, I keep my mouth shut. I can give you blunt advice, however, I don’t want to come off as a jerk. Why should I go around calling the bullshit of the people around me with the good intentions of actually helping them and risk ruining the relationship?
People want to hear what they choose to hear.
Some people would rather only listen to easy advice: the 6 pac in 6 days advice. The fuck as many girls as long as you say this one line advice. That kind of shay slimy advice.
Just so you know, if you’re one of those guys, don’t bother taking any of my dating or life coaching programs. You’re going to fail miserably and you’re going bitch about not getting results.
Only Give People the Advice When They Invest In It
I also figured that if someone doesn’t ask you or pay you for advice, he’s not going to listen or to take action on it. You’re making a mistake by bluntly dishing it out. You need to understand that information is not enough. These days, I’m quite sharp in pointing out if someone is looking for real actionable advice or he or she is just looking for sympathy and no accountability.
- Fat people know that they should work out and eat less, but they don’t.
- Single people know that they should go out and meet more people, but they don’t.
- People that want to make their hobbies a full time living know they should pick up entrepreneurial skillsets, but they don’t.
So why the behavioural gap?
When most people are looking for advice, they are actually looking for emotional support or some form of validation as to why they are facing certain problems. They aren’t looking for actionable advice.
These days, I rarely give out advice unless he or she has invested in it, whether be it through time or money. One other way I look at it is this: Billionaire Warren Buffet has been quoted saying: honesty is a really expensive gift, don’t expect it from cheap people.
If honesty is a completely expensive gift from yourself, why bother giving it out for free to cheap people?
You should only give real advice to:
- People that are ready to pay for it, hence, are accountable/ ready to act on it
- People that are willing to invest time and effort into it: internships
When you’re investing in a coach or a consultant, you’re hiring them to be honest with you. They are n’t there to be your best friend. They are there to give you feedback that you need and point you in the right direction.
You’ll notice that I give 98% of my advice for free. If you read my entire site, you’ll probably be able to learn something from it. This is why I don’t coach for free and I screen all my clients. I also don’t discount my programs. If you aren’t ready, you can use my free material.
How to Give Great Advice That’s Effective?
So what constitutes great advice that doesn’t make you come off like an asshole?
- Be empathetic
For example, if a friend comes sobbing to me about some guy that broke her heart.
Instead of blurting out:
“You aren’t setting any boundaries in your relationships. You need to ask yourself why you behaved in that manner and what made you attracted to someone of those negative personality traits.”
You can say:
“I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sure you’ll find someone better.”
I know I know, that’s really politically correct advice. I don’t agree with it. However, it is low risk for you and your friend. Nobody gets hurt. You avoid ruining the friendship at the expense of good intentions.
If they respond and tell you: come on Marcus, tell me truthfully, I need to know what to do. That’s when you can be a little more direct in your advice.
- Be Empathetic
When you’re helping someone understand, you can point to research, evidence and details. However, you need to be empathetic and patient. You don’t just force statistics down someone’s throat:
It’s never: ‘You’re absotutely wrong! You should do this instead!’
The art of giving good advice shouldn’t involve you forcing your worldviews on someone else. You can say: ‘The research points to X conclusion and it is a great place to start.’
- Specific Advice is Good Advice
Have you ever wondered why politicians rely on hyperbole, instead of specific words, theories or explanations in their political speeches? That’s because they need to appease the masses.
However, if you’re looking to give out good advice. It needs to be specific.
Look, I don’t go about offending people just for the sake of offending people, I’m someone who likes to be liked. Who doesn’t?
However, if you’re going give truly good advice, you got to be prepared to ruffle a few feathers.
It boils down to the people you around you. Top performers value honest, direct feedback and advice. They aren’t here to mess around and are actively looking for honest advice so that they can grow.