One thing you learn very quickly when you start to get some traction on Youtube and the comments start to arrive is that there are repeated patterns of irritating behaviour that get magnified and become hard to ignore. It’s worth pointing these out as we go along so that the well intentioned normal guys who listen and watch (bear in mind that 99% of you don’t comment at all, and merely watch / listen) can benefit.
The first one that springs to mind is offering unsolicited advice.
Why Offering Unsolicited Advice Is Incredibly Irritating
Let’s take an example to put this in context. I recently uploaded my 2nd video on the progress I have made in losing weight, building muscle and generally building a stronger , healthier body.
I’m overjoyed with the results, and you’d need to be blind and retarded to not recoginse the results I have achieved in the space of about 5.5 weeks have been fantastic, especially when you consider I will be 44 this year.
I also put up before and after pictures, so there is no bluff or bullshit here. I even toyed with the idea of making a video to show the progress incase of any trolls who simply wouldn’t believe you could acheive results at my age so quicklly.
Now although I believe the comments on the video were by and large well intentioned, it’s incredibly annoying to be given unsolicited advice by random Youtube commenters about which diet to use, what type of training to do, and other unsolicited advice on the subject.
Consider the logic of this:
I put up a video showing great success. I am then given advice by people with no credibility, no evidence they know what they are talking about…ON A SUBJECT WHERE I HAVE CLEARLY ALREADY SUCCEEDED, so evidently I don’t need their advice in the first place – because what I am doing is working.
To repeat :
Only about 1% of people comment, so most people seem to instinctively grasp this or if they don’t, decided not to comment on this particular video. But don’t just assume I am the only person who finds this behaviour irritating. There’s a reason why there is a saying “opinions are like arseholes : everyone has one”.
You can have an opinion all you like, but there are clearly some circumstances under which you should keep it to yourself, especially if you are not adding any value, the subject of your advice is clearly already succeeding, and you yourself have zero credibility or evidence that you have any clue what you are talking about.
Understand that when I make videos like these I am not “triggered” or dismayed – I do it to take the positive from dealing with the more annoying aspects of my work. If you’re one of those people who feels the need to chip in with your opinion and in particualr your advice, just bite your tongue and think before you speak.
Here’s when you should think about offering advice:
- If someone asks for it
- If someone is very unsure of themselves, and comes across as diffident and clueless on the next step
- If they are groping around and looking for an answer.
When you offer advice, try to think about how you position yourself. Even under the circumstances above, no one likes a didactic tone. It’s quite astonishing the tone of some of your comments – as if the lord God himself has descended from heaven to dispense his advice amongst us lesser mortals.
What the other person thinks when you dispense unsolicited advice
When I see comments offering me advice, it’s usually pretty clear whether the commenter is acting in good faith and just trying to help, or is subtly trying to troll and elevate himself at my expense.
For the latter guys I’d point out that it’s very obvious to me what you are doing, and other people too. You are really not fooling anybody. What you are trying to do is position yourself above me by sitting in judgement on my results, what I say, and then trying to get in the “final word” with your comment or advice.
Understand that if you’re tempted to do this in real life, however well intentioned, it is going to get a lot of people’s backs up. Remember the three circumstances above under which you might want to offer advice, and never, ever offer a judgemental, God like tone or position when you offer advice. Again, I am not the only person who finds this incredibly offputting and irritating, and it’s the sort of thing that one day will get you your teeth knocked out if you do it to the wrong guy at the wrong time.
Psychological Studies Show unsolicited advice givers feel more powerful.
I actually Googled unsolicted advice, and colour me surpised! A psychology paper was publisehd in 2018 which found the when people give advice, it makes them feel more powerful.
From the article:
“The paper, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, involved four studies. In the study, 290 people recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk were assigned to recall one of three options: A time they gave solicited advice, gave unsolicited advice, or had a conversation where no advice was given. They were then asked to evaluate how powerful and dominant they felt on a scale from 1 to 11. Those who had recalled giving advice were found to have a higher sense of power; when the advice was solicited, that feeling was boosted even further.
A second study asked 94 library employees how often they gave advice and how often others follow that advice. The researchers found that both of these factors created a stronger sense of power.”
Just as I suspected. I hope you can see this bolsters my argument.
I hope this has been helpful to some of you. Remember to be respectful, try to get out of the habit, understand that most of the time people are not interested in hearing your advice, and ask yourself if you have any credibility before piping up with your opinion. You should find that people dislike you less if you do.