An 18th century British statesman, Lord Chesterfield, well-known for his wise quips said, “When a man wants your advice, he generally wants your praise”. Obviously remaining consistent with the proper grammar of the time, Chesterfield was referring to both men and women.
Let’s be completely honest with ourselves for a bit. C’mon, no one is watching right now & you’re not going to be tested on this. How often have you talked with a friend or relative about a problem in life – a job issue, large purchase, relationship problem – seeking advice but deep down inside, really wanting them to side with YOU on the matter? Have you ever left out certain small, ‘unimportant” details of a situation when discussing it with someone? Ever embellished certain points or exaggerated…even just a little?
We all have a need for approval, acceptance and understanding. That need is usually at its highest at the times we’re seeking advice on a matter. After all, who wants to talk to their friend about a situation only to feel like they think we’re off our rocker? So, we tend to weigh the picture we paint for those we seek advice from, in our own favor. It’s human nature and any person who honestly, really hasn’t ever done this should be nominated for Sainthood!
Why Do We Ask For Advice?
Truth be told, we typically “color” the way we speak to friends whom we commiserate with – and those we solicit advice from. The way we tell the circumstances of a situation’s story will be weighted in a way that makes us look like we are in the right.
Another issue is the fact that we may not accept or value advice from someone who we are at odds with. When we are upset or don’t respect someone, it doesn’t seem to matter how much life experience the person has or how intelligent they are – we don’t really value their advice.
So, what’s causes these behaviors? It sure looks like pride and the need to be accepted. Yeah, there are those will argue with me on this one. But, in all reality, can you tell me what else might cause a person to bias what they tell a friend when looking for advice or sympathy? What else could it be? If you have thoughts, or ideas, join the discussion in the comments, below.