Life Hack for Getting Suddenly Awesome: Give Advice the Right Way


No one likes advice. But there is not a person on this earth that doesn’t love a compliment.

I’m a pretty social person. I meet new people on a regular basis, and almost whenever I do this, I find myself asking one question about them, which is: are they happy?

And, if not, what do they need in order to be more happy?

What can I help them with?

It’s crazy, I know, and I never (okay, I rarely) say this out loud.

But the question is always there, in my head, and it comes out in a million different ways: telling them where I go to get a haircut, what books to read on a given subject, how to deal with stupid people.

I know, I know:

I am incredibly annoying.

Sometimes, though, my well-meaning advice comes out differently.

It comes out as a compliment.

Like, “You are so good at communicating your feelings” (when they’re really not).

Or, “I love how you always seem to know what not to say” (when this is very far from the truth).

Or even, “I love your hair” (just as a way to remind them of what they do have on their side).

And when this happens–when I find a way to replace direct advice with the indirect kind–it just works so much better.

Go figure.


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  1. No one likes advice? I do! I love giving advice to everyone I meet at every minute we are together. It puts me on top of the conversation. Forces others to look up to me. Makes me feel superior. Raises me in my self-estimation. Gives me reason to praise myself after every conversation. ‘Give advice freely,’ I say to myself each morning. ‘And sell it if you can!’ My internal conversations are always about giving advice back and forth. I love giving myself advice. I love the advice I give. And hate the advice I’m being given. If I had a brain instead of fat in my head, I would try complimenting myself and others instead. “You are very good at advising, Bruce!” (there’s a compliment) “But do try complimenting instead. (there’s advising again). Please, Mollie, take me to a neurosurgeon and have my advice-making brain-lobe removed. And tell her to turn up my ‘complimenter’ too. Thank you. And don’t forget what I advised you to do.