6 Reasons We Don’t Take Good Advice

Whether romantic advice, career advice, or financial advice, there are a a slew of professionals out there that offer it. Sometimes we “get” it free of charge, other times we pay for. Yet, I (and I suspect many of us) are not always good at taking it.  Even advice we’ve paid for.

How many romance stories revolve around a hero or heroine not wanting to listen to their aunt, brother, sister, mother, uncle about who the right person is for them? Especially when it turns out that person was right?

After doing some digging, here are the reasons I’ve come up with:

1. The Advice is Bad

We’ve all been given bad advice, even by a professional. Sometimes, it’s because we haven’t given them the whole story. Sometimes, it’s because they don’t understand. And perhaps sometimes, it’s because they really don’t know and won’t admit it.

Tried this. It didn’t work. Co-workers looked at me like I was from Mars.

2. The Advice Conflicts With What We Want

I know i’m guilty of this. Not one, but two financial advisers told me not to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible. I ignored them. After living through the Great Recession, I never want to have to endure the belt-tightening we had to go through when our primary income was cut by 50%. Our primary expense was our mortgage.


3. Discouraging 

You see this less with professional advice as they are (usually) in the business to help you succeed, but not all of the advice friends and family give is the most uplifting. Or helpful (see point #1).


4. Gut Instinct Takes You Another Direction

This is so nebulous, but sometimes, you just know something is wrong. It intrudes on your thoughts during quiet times. You find yourself mulling it over again and again. I have no idea what gut instinct is, although I suspect it’s your brain working on a problem in the background, but it seems to be right most of the time.


5. It Differs From Other Advice You’ve Gotten

This is always difficult, especially when you’ve gotten advice from two professionals or two very trusted friends/family members.


6. Anger

Or other negative emotions make us much less likely to take even good advice. Here are other good reasons from real psychologists. Granted, these are mostly work related, but they could be applicable.


How about you? How willing are you to take advice? What makes you willing or unwilling to take advice? How about offer it?

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4 thoughts on “6 Reasons We Don’t Take Good Advice

  1. Great post! Hmm–it has me thinking: I don’t like to give advice anymore to strangers, but I offer it copiously to my son and husband–and then I feel guilty or completely awful if they follow my advice and then it doesn’t work out for them. But can I stop myself from giving them advice? No way–it’s a bad, bad habit:)

  2. Great list — and so applicable to my work world! One thing that sometimes comes up in my work groups is that one person will feel irritated or frustrated because another person will come to them (quite a bit!), for advice and then do just the opposite. I think your list above certainly gets to the reason, but how to counsel the person who is upset is another story. Any advice?

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