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4 Reasons Advice and Other Solutions Kill Relationships

Orders, better ways of doing things, and simple suggestions – these are solutions you likely send to people, which kills your relationship with them. A solution may appear harmless on the surface, yet in this article I’ll dig deep into why your solutions are not only ineffective at changing people, but also killing the emotional lives of people you touch.

“Hang out the washing”, “Stop moping around and cheer up”, “Fix what you broke”, “You need to improve your skills with customers”, “Get a new attitude”, “Obey your mother and father”. There are four reasons why such statements kill your relationships.

4 Reasons We Hate Receiving Solutions

The most common communication barrier people use to send solutions is advice. We give advice to help a person or to get things done, yet the outcome is destruction. Whether you are a child or parent, brother or sister, employee or manager, we hate receiving advice and being told what to do for four reasons:

1) Loss of control. The other person takes the reigns of our life as they control what we do. No one likes being controlled – it impedes freedom. To be in control of one’s life is a fundamental human need. Psychologists say the more you are in control of your life, the happier you will be.

If you get controlled, you respond with rebellion. Humans seek to reestablish freedom by engaging in a threatened behavior. You may refuse to carry out the order, do the task poorly, procrastinate, or blame others for the task not being completed. Your response to being controlled is natural human behavior, unhealthy for relationships. Rebellious behaviors pull apart cooperation – the fabric that binds a peaceful relationship.

Humans seek to reestablish freedom by engaging in a threatened behavior.

An insurgent individual causes the person giving advice to continue giving solutions because no change has occurred. This furthers defiance. The problem is not the nonconforming person, but the stubborn person blind enough to continue control. “They just keep doing the same goddamn thing that doesn’t work and worsens and perpetuates the problem,” says Robert Fisch, author of Brief Therapy with Intimidating Cases: Changing the Unchangeable. “What people are doing is ‘common sense’ to them. People say ‘it’s the only thing to do.’” We need to stop attempted ways of changing people that fail to work.

2) Feelings of inferiority. A side-effect of being controlled is feeling inferior. We feel like a lesser person when we lose control of ourselves. Solutions and advice prevent people from feeling good about themselves and developing a healthy self-esteem.

We seek to feel important. To make a man hate you, simply take away what makes him feel good about himself. Tell him what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. You will have yourself a lifeless human doing, not a human being.

3) The problem is not obvious. Humans are complex creatures. Even our simple processes are complex. Has someone given you advice on a serious emotional problem? The person tried to help you, but you became frustrated because he or she “just didn’t get it”.

Chances are you remained the same. You probably rebelled against the person to regain freedom. As a result, things got worse. You became angry, silent, or defensive. Perhaps the person then tried even harder to assert their way of thinking was right. This only pushed you further from where they wanted you to be. They failed to understand what you were going through. I know, I’ve been there.

Advice subtly communicates the solution to your problem is obvious. It communicates you must be stupid, incompetent, and inferior to overlook the solution. Aeschylus, an ancient Greek playwright in 500 BC, said, “It is an easy thing for one whose foot is on the outside of calamity to give advice and to rebuke the sufferer.”

When tempted to send a solution to someone, remind yourself you do not know the whole story. Even when you think you know the truth, you probably know on-side of the story – your story. Why? This leads us to the fourth reason people hate receiving solutions from others.

4) People are oblivious to the truth. Human behavior and everything we experience is like an iceberg. An iceberg’s visible tip is 10% of the entire iceberg because the ice’s density is less than the sea water’s density. The remaining 90% of the iceberg is below the water’s surface, not visible to the common eye. How the 90% of the iceberg is shaped cannot be determined by looking at the iceberg’s tip.

When tempted to send a solution to someone, remind yourself you do not know the whole story.

Our likeness to an iceberg is a double-edged sword. On one side, most people never concern themselves with understanding the 90% of a person or story difficult to see upfront. They prefer to focus on themselves, stick with what they know, and never seek to fully understand people. We don’t follow or become inspired to change by someone that doesn’t understand us.

Governments Catch On

Governments in the 20th century told teenagers to not smoke, lazy individuals to exercise, and drug users to avoid substance abuse. This persuasive technique is not only ineffective – studies prove that such advertising campaigns can create negative results! A “Think. Don’t Smoke.” campaign actually increased teen smoking!

Recently I’ve noticed various Governments understand our natural tendency to rebel against solutions forced upon us. Fewer health campaigns give orders. One television advertising campaign aimed at reducing teen smoking showed body bags dropped outside a tobacco building. The crafted message got the teenagers to rebel against tobacco companies and reduced teen smoking.

On the other side of the iceberg of human behavior is tremendous potential for you to connect with people in a way they have likely yet to experience. People’s poor ability to understand others stores further energetic potential to have them connect with you. When someone hides what matters to them from fear of being told what to do, your understanding through empathetic communication shines a light to open them up.

It is unfortunate few people know these secrets of communication. That is why they are secrets. Most people try to make knock-out blows by giving advice, criticism, and other communication barriers. They hope to change people and their relationships through solutions, yet all this does is make people hate them and resist change.

What I have discussed here is only the first of five solving barriers you use almost everyday in your communication. This is not even 1% of information I share in my communication secrets program that teaches you how to become a charismatically persuasive people magnet. There is more to the advising barrier, four other solving barriers, and an additional seven judging and avoiding barriers you use to kill relationships, reduce your persuasive power, and decrease your charisma.

If any of this resonates a message in your life, you’re sick of misunderstanding people, and you’re tired of people resisting your helpful advice, and you want to know the true way to change people, I encourage you to learn about my Communication Secrets of Powerful People program here.

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Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

Joshua Uebergang, aka "Tower of Power", teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to



What u have written is 100% correct and I have experienced it myself.

Somebody tried to advice me a lot and we stopped talking for almost 4 months.

I never thought about this angle. U r great.


Perfect. You’re absolutely right. Thank you so much!!!


This is an amazing article by Joshua. It clearly brings out why advice should never be used in dealing with emotional problems. Adivce, at times, is like adding vice. – Love , Narsi


Josh, you came into my life at the very right time; when I was struggling with insecurities and undefined feelings and emotions. The answers you provided and continually do could not have been better explained or come earlier in my life. Again I say, you speak to me directly. I sincerely thank God for you and your cherished never ending insight.
Be blessed abundantly

adamu lawal shinkafi


Dr. Nekwali Shah

You are great person and what you are telling is great as well.
If someone follows all these no doubt he will be successful in every field of life. Wish to hear from you in future.
thank you
you deserve the best.

farah liyana

thanks for this tremendous fact on the way we think 🙄

-farah liyana

Steven Acire

absolutely perfect and practical issues; thank you very much! you deserve an accolade!


Thanks a lot for the article, it came at the nick of time for me when I am going through relationship problems and insecurities caused by being controlled when growing up. Again thank you and may God bless you.


communication skills are so important and you just hit the nail on the head here. i find these poblem solving mistakes in my daily life relationships and i have learnt to be empathetic and unserstanding to the wrong doer because like you accurately stated, ‘we do not have the whole story with us’ hence the need to listen before passing on judgement to those who fault us.Thank you joshua for this eye opening article.

Ndyomugyenyi Elly

You are a blessing to me Joshua regarding communication skills. If I had known these life-changing skills before, my marriage would not have broken. If God gives me another partner, I now know what to do.


Joshua you are the perfect Teacher of life. Wish u a very happy days bcause we need sloutions from u


Thank you so much for this very good knowledge,you very skillful.

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