Communication

Offering Advice Without Seeming Patronising

Written by Rob J. Temple

When parting advice with other people there’s always a fine-line between being helpful and received well, to seeming patronising and invasive.

How do you walk that line?

How do you give people useful advice without looking like a dick?

Improving relationships between yourself and your partner, yourself and friends/family members, OR offering advice for others to improve “their” relationships in all the above categories is something we all do on a continuous basis.

However, nine times out of ten people do it in a patronising way. They don’t think about how they’re saying something to someone, for example, if you wanted to tell someone that they need to “listen more” and you simply told them:

“You need to listen more”…

There are many implications to that statement, and the person you’re talking to could receive it in a variety of ways. For example, they could think, “So you’re saying I:

  • don’t listen properly
  • don’t follow instructions
  • am self centred:
  • and so on…

Unfortunately statements such as “you need to listen more” come out so easily and automatically in most people, but those statements can be harmful to your relationships.

Oh, and stating “no offence” or “don’t be offended by this” doesn’t excuse you from using these types of sentences or parting “advice” that isn’t offensive. If anything it tells the person you’re about to say something to that you’re about to offend them but they shouldn’t be pissed about it.

So how do you offer advice without seeming patronising?

In today’s blog post, I aim to give you some (I admit unorthodox) tips and ideas that make offering advice easier, and seem less invading and patronising to the recipient.

Advise Through Example

This is by far the best way to offer advice, and it occurs subconsciously to the receiver, making it 100% non-patronising…

So what do I mean by “advising through example”?

I mean that you need to BE the advice that you’re offering. If you want others to listen to you, learn to listen to them first. If you want others to be more productive and proactive, be that way yourself.


Science has proven that we are environmentally conditioned, and that our behaviour is habitual. Therefore, through radiating an environment that contains our messages of advice, we can influence other peoples behaviour!

Imagine being able to tell your friend that they need to be more caring without even having to verbally say anything! It’s liberating and powerful, plus it’s possibly the most peaceful and diplomatic way to give someone constructive critique.

Start living the way that you want others to behave. When you’re around someone who acts positively, with optimism and enthusiasm, yet has time for you and listens to you, don’t you feel great?

Does their behaviour change your mindset and perspective on life?

Of course it does. Learn to be inspirational through your examples and actions, and others will be influenced and infected by your positivity.

Nonverbal Advice

Here’s a useful statistic for those that don’t know it yet:

Of our communication, 7% is verbal, and 93& is nonverbal! Nonverbal communication is made up of body-language (55%) and tone of voice (38%).

Learn to communicate the messages you want to broadcast via body-language. If someone is acting negatively, one look from you may tell them all they need to know, without you having to “talk them through the process of why they’re being nasty”, which is patronising.

We all know how “looks can kill” or “one simple gesture can change an atmosphere”, therefore, learn to use these communication opportunities to your advantage when giving advice.

Granted this type of communication usually has to occur “at the time” or “just after” the person you wish to advise has made an error. However, it’s still better for the health of your relationship with that person to use body-language than it is to tell them they’ve done something wrong most of the time.

Written Word

Again, taking the “verbal” out of the communication softens the blow when giving advice. Write a text message or private message via social media to the recipient. Often this helps them to re-read your message to understand what you’re trying to say to them, and after a short period of time, any negativity they held towards the message dissolves.

Just be sure to craft your message in a positive light. Say what you want to say but do so lightly and with compassion. Make sure that the recipient knows and understands that you’re trying to help, and that you aren’t attacking them in any way.

Wrapping things up…

Overall, offering advice to others doesn’t have to be so patronising. Through setting an example, and using nonverbal language OR writing, you can avoid sounding proud and as if you’re invading others personal lives.

Sometimes it’s near on impossible to avoid giving advice verbally as we usually would, and granted, sometimes that’s what’s needed. But if you want to use a softer approach, where you won’t be received as “proud” or “negative”, try the techniques I’ve outlined in today’s post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s content, as usual “Like”, “Share” and “Comment” below!

About the author

Rob J. Temple

Rob J. Temple is a hypnotist, mindset coach and the founder of Evolution Hacks. He specializes in helping ordinary people around the world to create extraordinary lives!

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