If you want to make it virtually impossible for someone else to change their behaviour try unsolicited advice. This advanced alienation strategy, often falsely discredited as “smartassiness”, requires absolute faith in your own superiority. If you are still a little doubtful about your pre-eminence take solace in the fact that by reading this blog you have catapulted yourself into the top 1% of the worlds’ sophistication pyramid already.
People in general are – you may have noticed – incompetent, naive, ignorant and biased because they don’t know what they don’t know. Luckily there is one glaring exception on this planet: you!
This philosophical insight is crucial for successfully alienating our communication partners with unsolicited advice.
How does it work?
Step 1 You firmly make a decision about how others ought to behave.
Step 2 You find (or invent) evidence that supports your position.
Step 3 You choose someone who does not fit into your superior model of the world.
Step 4 Finally, you selflessly impart your knowledge to this ignoramus (who was careless enough, not to ask for your advice in the first place).
This strategy requires a subtle application and works best with a covert passive use of aggression. It’s a long-term approach that slowly grinds down the other persons’ willingness to do anything you suggested.
Let’s assume you dislike your spouse’s diet, because you are almost as deeply concerned about their health as you are about their public appearance. One day you decide not to just sit on your (perfectly shaped) hands but to take remedial action against their ill-guided eating activities.
You begin to research the Internet, lifestyle magazines and you skim self-help books for diet advice. Within days you develop into a nutritional expert and secretly wonder why you haven’t become a professional health consultant already. It’s time to unleash your wisdom onto the world – or at least into your spouses stroke-endangered brain.
In the meantime you have already sent various links and videos to your partner and much to your surprise you only received brief responses to the first twenty messages or so.
Consequently you decide to test your newfound lecture prowess at your favourite Tapas restaurant. When your unsuspecting spouse is wondering whether to have Tortilla or salmon you raise at least one eyebrow and say with serious inflection:
“Potatoes are almost purely starch and spike your insulin.”
Wait for their reaction. Should they fail to swallow your bitter pill of truth help them to flush it down with a 5 minute monologue on the dangers of the common potato (other guests should be able to clearly hear you too).
Make at least 10 suggestions for dietary alternatives – such as sweet potatoes because of their higher nutritional density and the use of cinnamon for its insulin receptivity enhancing effects. If your spouse defies your life saving intervention, seize the moment and comment resentfully with “Bon appétit!” (see guilt inductions) If the potato doesn’t kill them their guilt will leave a bad aftertaste at least.
Unsolicited advice works particularly well in some corporate environments because often hierarchy obliges the lower ranked employees to support their managers’ views, no matter how ludicrous they may be.
If you’re lucky enough to be such a manager, you can take advantage of your position by funnelling unsolicited advice right into to your team to your liking.
Think informational Foie Gras!
For example: You have just returned from a three-day leadership programme, and it has opened your eyes to the world of people.
Once upon a time, fact, figures and excel sheets formed the building blocks of your rock-solid, black & white reality. But now you can see shades, you hear, smell and feel emotions, needs, personality styles and authentically think in open questions?
Luckily you have found this blog, which will detoxify your mind from such humanist ludicrousness. Yes, your team members may be excellent performers and yes, they may be content and in great spirit – but you’re on a mission.
It’s time to roll-up your lecturing sleeves.
On the workshop you discovered the power of giving feedback. You were taught, that when somebody does something you don’t like you share a concise and factual observation about their behaviour, tell them what kind of impact their behaviour had, you listen to their concerns and you then collaboratively explore alternatives towards a win-win solution.
This approach is tailored to minimise resistance. Where’s the fun in this? As alienation masters we want to create as much resistance as possible.
There’s that one guy in your team who doesn’t seem to be pulling quite the same weight as everyone else is. Let’s ignore the fact that he’s struggling with a debilitating chronic condition, but focus on what really matters: your opinion.
We replace the complicated 4-step feedback rules with 3 simple art of alienation steps:
a) In the very first sentence you just tell him what he should be doing. In equal measure you use evidence, hearsay and made up facts to support your elaborate professional conduct theories. If he takes a breath to interrupt your ten minutes monologue, you raise your parental tone of voice and adapt a concerned tasting-an-expensive-wine kind of frown.
c) You set a deadline.
That’s it. No discussion, no back and forth – just simple and beautiful one-way communication with guaranteed alienation effects.
If you have a boss who manages you this way, wait for your turn until after your promotion. In the meantime practice on friends and family:
- If anyone is excited about anything respond with “Did you know that…” and follow up with facts that cast a long shadow over what they are excited about.
- Always explain your position in depth and don’t waste time asking questions.
- Turn your opinions into truths first, and then into natural laws, that others have to abide by.
- Always try to fix peoples’ problems for them, and adopt a rescuer attitude that makes mother Theresa look like a self-serving scam artist.
- Don’t publically laugh or be joyous, instead always maintain a serious demeanour that accurately reflects mankind’s hopeless condition.