Author Topic: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?  (Read 1686 times)

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Calypso

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Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« on: December 29, 2013, 11:13:18 PM »
BG: my awesome oldest sis is 13 years my senior ---- she babsysat me as a baby, changed my diapers, the whole nine yards. Needless to say, she takes her role as Oldest Sibling pretty seriously. She's the advice giver, not the advice taker!

She retired really early (at age 43) and since then has lost her closest friend, who died,  and then she moved away from her well-established community of friends for the sake of her husband's health. Although she's tried hard, she's had limited success where she is now making close friends. Some of those she has made have disappointed her, and she resolves, this coming year, to widen her circle of friends in search of more compatible people and deeper relationships.
(end BG)
The thing is, I can see some ways she's getting in her own way. I believe if she were to reframe some of her ways of approaching things, she could be much happier (she is pretty depressed now and it hurts my heart to  hear her trying to deal with it).

Well, if I suggested any of my ideas to her directly, she'd just take it as criticism and, because I'm "her baby sister," it wouldn't mean much to her anyway. BUT! I've written professionally ---- what if I wrote my advice in the form of a "magazine article", under a fake name, and sent it to her with "hey, remember what we were talking about? This looked interesting to me regarding that. What do you think?" (I've also told her I'm interested in meeting new people, so it would be plausible I'd be reading something along those lines).

Good work around? Or too nefarious?

Promise

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2013, 11:22:28 PM »
Well, this is interesting. I wouldn't say anything about the article's author, but just talk about the main points. What does she think, etc. If at some point in the future, there is a reason to disclose your Nom de Plume, then do so. Many authors have other names for various reasons. It's not a big deal.

buvezdevin

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2013, 11:23:02 PM »
I would skip the subterfuge, and find articles with the pointers you think would be most helpful for her.  If there are specific points you would want to call to her attention within such articles, you could summarize briefly and/or indicate where such points are within the article(s), while including links for on-line or copies of print materials.  Then it isn't her "baby sister's" viewpoint, it is references to other actual third party viewpoints or advice.
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purple

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 04:20:04 AM »
To be blunt, I think you writing stuff and sending it to her as 'a helpful tip in an article I found' is a bad idea.

It's just so dishonest, it doesn't sit well with me.

cicero

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 04:23:04 AM »
To be blunt, I think you writing stuff and sending it to her as 'a helpful tip in an article I found' is a bad idea.

It's just so dishonest, it doesn't sit well with me.
I agree.

With my sisters and i - i am just a few years older than them - but i have taken advice from them and vice versa. they can say to me "i know i'm the younger sister but i can still give you advice" and I will accept it - because it's my sister and it doesn't really matter if they are older or younger than me. even with my father - i can say to him "i know you're the dad and i am your child but i still think that..."

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heyyoume

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 04:26:05 AM »
I think it is risky - what if she wants to read other articles by the author.  Or googles them and can't find them?  Give her the tips as a conglomerate of articles you have read.  I promise you - as an elder sister -the advice, no matter how unwelcome, will sink in eventually.

iridaceae

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 06:10:48 AM »
It sounds like that terrible ad campaign of a few years ago where women were mailed articles that looked cut out of a paper with a sticky on in that said "I saw this and thought of you!" It was an ad for a weight loss program or pill. I know of one person who thought it was real and was in tears.

Psychopoesie

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 07:42:28 AM »
I'm also voting not a good idea to give your sister advice in such an indirect way. It's dishonest for starters.

It's hard when you (general you) can see someone you care about is unhappy, especially when it seems like you can spot the problem and see a way for them to fix it. My own advice about giving advice is wait till someone asks for it. That doesn't mean you can't say anything about the situation.

Telling a friend I've read a great article about X or Y is one way to go. If they seem interested, offering them a link to it. Asking what, if anything, I can do to help is another option. Or just asking about their plans to fix the problem, and then how things are going. I'd also have no qualms about saying I felt worried about a friend and asking if they've considered seeing a therapist or their doctor. Personally, prefer ways of giving advice that emphasise the other person's right to be in charge of the direction of their own life, even if their solutions would not be mine.

Which option I'd choose depends on my relationship with the other person, their personality and exactly what's wrong.











Yvaine

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 07:48:07 AM »
I think it is risky - what if she wants to read other articles by the author.  Or googles them and can't find them?  Give her the tips as a conglomerate of articles you have read.  I promise you - as an elder sister -the advice, no matter how unwelcome, will sink in eventually.

Yup, and if I got an informational article from a source I'd never heard of (like a made-up magazine) and couldn't find the name of the magazine anywhere else but that article, I'd assume it was sketchy. I might not jump to "my sister wrote this," but I'd definitely think "this is spam/clickbait/trying to sell me something."

newbiePA

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 08:06:22 AM »
Anything "sneaky" is typically a bad idea.  I know your heart is in the right place through! 
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Onyx_TKD

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 09:56:16 AM »
In addition to what PPs have said, consider how it comes across if she ever finds out: You're trying to advise her on her search for "deeper relationships," but have to resort to fabricating an article just to state your thoughts to your own sister? I realize you just want to help her, but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement for relationship advice.  :(

I would skip the subterfuge, and find articles with the pointers you think would be most helpful for her.  If there are specific points you would want to call to her attention within such articles, you could summarize briefly and/or indicate where such points are within the article(s), while including links for on-line or copies of print materials.  Then it isn't her "baby sister's" viewpoint, it is references to other actual third party viewpoints or advice.

I think this would be a much better approach. If you feel the need for more authoritative references to back up your advice, please do her the courtesy of getting real references. It will also provide a handy check for you--if you can't find any material to back up the points you want to make, then are they really points you can justify presenting as authoritative?

camlan

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2013, 11:12:41 AM »
I think sending her the articles would be just the same as giving her advice to her face. If she doesn't like advice from her younger sister, she doesn't like advice from her younger sister.

What I'd do instead, is the next time she complains about her lack of friends, is ask her, "Do you just want to vent right now, or can I offer some advice?" She might just see the OP as a safe place to vent and doesn't want the OP to fix her problem. Or she may decide that she does want the advice. But let her choose.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


TurtleDove

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2013, 11:46:19 AM »
What I'd do instead, is the next time she complains about her lack of friends, is ask her, "Do you just want to vent right now, or can I offer some advice?"

I like this.  Please do not lie and send fake articles.  If you want to give *your* advice, then do that, but don't pretend you came across an article when you did not.  People either want to complain about a problem, or they want to solve a problem, and providing solutions to someone who wants to complain will not be productive.

shhh its me

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 01:47:22 PM »
   Faking an article no just no, I think that may actually cross into unforgivable.  Unless you've published the work already. Hey if you write a blog under a pen name and its has 1 or 100 thousand followers , you can send her a link to that and not disclose its you. But targeting something to her under the guise  of  vetted expert advise its really really wrong. I assume an article in Newsweek is vetted pretty well and that a blog with 100 followers is not vetted but I can see the source when I find that how reliable the author is myself.   Its a huge deceit on several levels.   

EllenS

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Re: Sneaky way to give advice--brilliant or awful idea?
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 02:06:04 PM »
I think sending her the articles would be just the same as giving her advice to her face. If she doesn't like advice from her younger sister, she doesn't like advice from her younger sister.

What I'd do instead, is the next time she complains about her lack of friends, is ask her, "Do you just want to vent right now, or can I offer some advice?" She might just see the OP as a safe place to vent and doesn't want the OP to fix her problem. Or she may decide that she does want the advice. But let her choose.

My mom was a big advice -giver and would send articles by the dozens (though written by other people).  It was glaringly obvious that she did not just "happen" to read this and thought I'd be interested. She saw something that backed up her opinion of what I was doing wrong, and wanted to prove to me that other people thought I was wrong, too.  I would just chuck them out.
As I mellowed with age, I was able to pretend they were just greeting cards so they stopped ticking me off.  But I still didn't read them or care what they said.

I like asking as above, and also the further questions, "why do you think that keeps happening?" or "how are you dealing with that/what do you want to do about that?"
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