How to give (and get) advice

June 1, 2009          Comments (3)


My brother in law always jokes that there’s two types of good. Good. And good for nothin’!

I think that applies to advice too. And I love helping people and a huge part of that is giving advice.

As the Chief Body Tutor of MyBodyTutor, I wear many hats. Part nutritionist, part personal trainer, part coach, part inspirer, part therapist, part bull secretion detector, and part trusted friend to name a few. I want to be able to help my clients on all sorts of issues they might face.

Many people believe that getting in shape will make them happy, and it will! But many also believe that it will solve all of their problems.

Working on ways to make yourself happier and actually trying to solve your problems will make it a lot easier to get in shape! Because you won’t be nearly as inclined to eat emotionally, mindlessly and habitually; a big part of what I help my clients overcome.

So I find myself in the position of being asked for advice on all sorts of topics.

Most people when they seek advice want to be told what they want to hear. (Although, I believe asking questions is the best form of advice as opposed to simply giving answers.)

Perfect example: Has anyone who is getting worked in their so called ‘relationship’ ever asked you for dating advice?

Say something to them like, “I think he isn’t good for you. Clearly, you’re unhappy and he hasn’t changed. I think you need to end it and move on with your life.”

9 times out of 10, you’ll get a response like, “But, he’s so nice and we have so much fun together.” Really? Then why are you always miserable?

This happens because you’re going against their ego. Just like the first step to getting in shape is admitting that you aren’t in shape, most people can’t accept that.

Gentleman, has a girl ever asked you if she looks fat? Run and hide.

There is no upside to answering this question. Answer with, “No. Not at all. You look great!” and you’ll get something like, “Why are you lying? Don’t lie. Tell me the truth!” Tell them the truth and all the running and hiding in the world won’t do you any good.

Besides, ladies do you really need someone to tell you if you look fat or not? Everyone knows their own problems.

It’s just a question of if you really want to admit them to yourself.

Which leads me to the next kind of advice. Good for nothing but your ego!

This is when you tell the a person exactly what they want to hear as opposed to what they need to hear. “Yes, you look awesome! And yes, he’s absolutely head over heels in love with you!”

My wonderful mom would always preface advice with asking if I wanted her to tell me what I wanted to hear or what I needed to hear.

And sometimes, I do want to be told what I want to hear. But most of the time, I brace myself, and am prepared to hear something that might go against my ego.

Because that’s the only way I’ll grow.

And the only way to get really good advice is to decide before you ask, what kind of advice you want to hear.

Good. Or good for nothin’!


[Some great comments over at!]

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!


  1. I want the truth. Everytime. I have thick skin, and like you mentioned the only way to truly grow is to learn from the truth and apply that to your life and changes you need to make.

    I’ve encountered more problems with people being scared to actually give me the REAL advice. It might sting a little, but my friends who aren’t scared to give me the tough love are the ones I trust and go to for advice.

    You do a tremendous job providing thought-provoking content that inspires thought in your readers. It doesn’t hurt that you have a good grasp of the way this world works, and the way people think.

    Comment by Ryan Stephens — June 1, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  2. Ryan, that’s why you’re where you are at! Because you can take the heat! I also agree that it’s really important to surround yourself with people who will tell you like it is – no matter what. Thanks for the kind words!

    Comment by Adam Gilbert — June 1, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

  3. You’re absolutely correct. Too often, I see people that ask for “advice”, but in reality are looking for someone to validate what they have already decided to do, and anything to the contrary is just dismissed.

    Comment by Norcross — June 3, 2009 @ 8:44 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment