When people ask for advice, why don't they listen?


June 22, 2005, 10:30 AM
A while back, I started a thread here after a co-worker asked me for advice on buying a handgun. I advised him with the standard advice (mid-frame .38/.357 revolver, 3"-4" barrel). Well, he bought himself a Taurus 851 Titanium revolver. No, not the worst choice in the world, but not what I would call a good choice for a first gun. He commented on and on about how cool it was, how light for easy carry, good light weight so his wife can hold it easily, etc.

So, last Friday, we head out to the range. It was the police range (we're both prosecuting attorneys), and we met one of teh firearms instructors at teh range. He gives Brian (the co-worker) teh safety lecture, and some basic instuctions on hom to fire a handgun. Good, solid, basic information for his first range session. After about 30 minutes of lecture, Brian loads up, walks to the 5 yard line, aims, and fires. The ammo was Winchester white bo 130 grain FMJ, standard pressure. Anyways, the gun rocked pretty good. He almost drops the gun as he sets it down, starts rubbing his hand, carrying on about how it hurt. By the time he's fired 20-25 rounds, you can see that he's flinching, he's pushing forward as he's pulling the trigger, etc. Instructor gets a box of 95 grain JHP's, and lets him shoot some of these. Slight improvement, but still a mess.

We let him calm down a bit while we both shoot out Glocks, showing him again how to do it right/ Then, instuctor pulls out a 4" 686, and lets him try that. Night and day difference. Then, a Glock, which he does pretty well with.

So now, he's got a Taurus 851Ti that he wants to trade off for a bigger revolver, which is what I told him in the first place.

Why don't they listen?

If you enjoyed reading about "When people ask for advice, why don't they listen?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
June 22, 2005, 10:35 AM
Human nature I suppose - the only teacher seems to be experience. I know that there are many things that I certainly could have avoided in my life if I was simply smart enough to learn from others. Just ain't natural :neener:

June 22, 2005, 10:50 AM
Usually when they ask for advice, I think they have already made up their minds but are looking for moral support. You can sense this with the defensiveness (or not) of their response to the "advice." As Hondo (John Wayne) said, "People do what they want to do." ;)

June 22, 2005, 10:51 AM
It is infinitely much more fun when that person is your spouse.


Kramer Krazy
June 22, 2005, 11:03 AM
At least he didn't buy a 4" S&W 500 for his first gun. :uhoh:

He probably got a little overwhelmed with the salesman's pitch on the Ti gun and didn't fully understand the difference that the weight difference would make in recoil. Sometimes, it still amazes me the difference in recoil influenced by barrel lengths and weights.

Henry Bowman
June 22, 2005, 11:12 AM
It is infinitely much more fun when that person is your spouse. :uhoh: Not necessarily.

June 22, 2005, 11:15 AM
WHAT was / is the purpose of the gun your friend bought?

IF it was as a bedside/target/plinking gun, a general-purpose First Gun, it was not the optimal acquisition.

If, however, he wanted a CARRY gun, titanium makes sense. It's light, easy to carry and won't "print" by dragging down pockets or belts.

He's not going to be putting a whole box of ammo through it in an SD scenario unless the courthouse is under seige; his only real problem is taking the punishment for the half-box or so he needs to put through it each month to practice.

WHEN people ask for advice is critical. If he was at the beginning of the research procesess and wholly open to input, you would have had more influence. IF he'd already made up his mind and was merely looking for ratification, you wasted your breath.

Also, don't underestimate the power of a good salesman or a shiny new, "high-tech" toy in one's sweaty little hands at the moment of purchase... ;)

June 22, 2005, 12:03 PM
Why don't they listen? I think that when people ask for advice what they're really looking for is justification and consensus.

Bruce H
June 22, 2005, 12:17 PM
Because its called advice not orders and they can ignore it.

June 22, 2005, 12:36 PM
Seems like "cool" is the in thing rather than the sensible thing. Most small revolvers calibers .38+p and up are not that comfortable for an experinced shooter especially the light ones. On the other hand I know of a number of people that chose a .44 mag for a first gun then sold it rather quickly after one shooting session.

Sleeping Dog
June 22, 2005, 12:48 PM
I like Tory's answer. The light weight makes it a good carry gun, less likely to be left behind because it's "too heavy". If that's the purpose of getting it.

So the light weight means it kicks more. Yeah, maybe not the best choice for recreational plinking.

Next trip to the range, have him talk to the target: "This will hurt you a lot more than it hurts me".


June 22, 2005, 02:09 PM
If memory serves, he came to me first (outside of his wife) to express his interest in buying a gun. Its stated purpose was for home defense and learning purposes, with the possibilty of carry only if necessary. That is why I recommended the 3"-4" mid-frame .38/.357. Not too big to rule out carry, but large enough to make learning workable and more pleasurable.

I can guarantee it was a salesmanship job, because I went with him to the gunstore the day he made the purchase. We had the salesman pull a nice, but gently used Smith Model 10, followed by a nice, gently used Smith 66. Then the salesman started with "but you've got to see this." He brought out the Smith scandiums, and then the Taurus titaniums when Brian said the scandium was outside his budget. The Ti was more than either used Smith, but was so cool.

As an aside, does anyone know if grips for the Taurus 85 will fir the 851Ti? A larger grip might help him deal with the recoil...

June 22, 2005, 02:19 PM
Man, if he was in Atlanta I'd take that 851 off his hands...

June 22, 2005, 02:23 PM
for advice have already decided for themselves, perhaps subconsciously, and really want validation.

June 22, 2005, 03:04 PM
He may be smarter that you think.

Now he has a good reason to buy another gun (one of those you recommended!). :D

June 22, 2005, 03:11 PM
Big G and Justin have it right. Many people when asking, etc.

You didn't tell him what he wanted to hear. My dad had that annoying habit and the amazing thing was he was almost always right.

Sean Smith
June 22, 2005, 03:14 PM
Men don't generally take advice from other men. It is a macho thing, I think. Doesn't matter how much more you know than the other guy, he'll generally fight it, even subconsciously. That's why it is often easier to train women than men to shoot. Most women don't think they are supposed to know about guns if they have no experience with them, logically enough, so if you are a good instructor and know your stuff, they will generally listen and do what the instructor says. Men try to fake knowing what they are doing alot, and are more defensive when it comes to taking advice on guns, since they seem to think that admitting they can't handle a gun makes it look like they have a small pee-pee or something.

Bottom line, guys tend to be willfully stupid. Being one of them, I guess I should know. :D

Back in the 1990s, I got to work with Army drill sergeants. This was back when basic training classes were all-male or all-female. They all agreed that the men were much worse learners, in spite of the fact that these guys were the polar opposite of a PC feminist. As in , "I *@#$&(*ing hate those (*@&#($*&ing &@#*$^!!es[vulgar generic slang for female recruits] sometimes. But they really make Joe [generic slang for male recruits] look *%^&%!ing stupid."


June 22, 2005, 03:15 PM
My next door neighbor wanted my advice on a progressive reloader. I recommended a Dillon 550B, showed him how to load on my personal 550B, and offered to help him set his up when he got it. He decided to buy a Lee 1000 instead, and did not ask for any assistance. About one month later, he bought a Dillon 550B, and my other neighbor had just gotten a great deal on a barely used Lee 1000 :).

Just my .02,

June 22, 2005, 03:16 PM
Not all advice, even from self-proclaimed "experts", is good advice (not meaning your advice to your friend, of course.) I received lots of advice that I decided not to follow.

The trick is having the wisdom to decide which advice to follow. Not always very self-evident.

JB in SC
June 22, 2005, 05:10 PM
A good friend of mine says, "most people don't want advice, they want an accomplice". Truer words have not been spoken.

Standing Wolf
June 22, 2005, 08:31 PM
So now, he's got a Taurus 851Ti that he wants to trade off for a bigger revolver, which is what I told him in the first place.

Somebody's going to get a deal.

June 22, 2005, 08:49 PM
The older and/or experienced generation tend to be laughed off as "old fools"

Now that I'm one of the "old fools", it amazes me how many stupid mistakes people make. I see it happening and wonder why the mistake-maker can't see it as easily as me.

Then I remember that I was just as stubborn at that age

Young people (not always age...sometimes inexperience) get their scars because they won't listen

Then again, there are many self-proclaimed "experts" that still give questionable advice. Also, what's suitable for one person may be a disaster for another.

Standing Wolf says "someone's going to get a deal"...true, but why is the gun a deal for that person and not another??? Needs vary I guess. That's why the used gun rack is full at my local store.

If somebody didn't change their mind, I wouldn't have gotten some of my good deals.


I used to work part-time at a gun shop. Some guy would come in to buy the latest supermagnumloudenboomer. Real cool until they capped off the first round.... :what:

I saw a number of attitudes re-adjusted

Look at the rifle rack and see all the magnum rifles that have less than five to zero rounds thru them

June 22, 2005, 11:31 PM
It's not just with guns, it's with everything in life. My best friend asks me for advice all the time on everything from women to his home purchase, but he almost never listens to me. I finally realized for myself what JB said"most people don't want advice, they want an accomplice" so I've pretty much stopped giving him advice. Generic answers like "I don't know" or "whatever works for you" are favorites of mine now.

The older and/or experienced generation tend to be laughed off as "old fools" I learned around the age of 22 or so that those old fools really know what they're talking about, and they have the life experience to back it up. It's scary how right some of you old guys can be sometimes :)

June 22, 2005, 11:35 PM
Chris - it seems he was actually wanting to buy ''cool factor'' rather than boring old ''sensible'' as you were no doubt recommending! No - folks ''listen'' to what they choose (selectively) to hear!

He has it seems seen the error of his ways - so onwards and this time most probably he just might finish up with the right gun for him! :)

June 23, 2005, 12:08 AM
Just because someone asks for advice does not make the advice you give golden to them. I don;t know the particular situation but he may have gotten advice somewhere else too. Or maybe it was just the cool gotta have it kind of a thing. Before he sells that revolver (well maybe since it is a Taurus he should sell it quick) why not have him try some l;arger grips on it (that is if it came with small ones). Larger rubber grips often do the trick on small revolvers.

I agree if he was only looking for a revolver then your advice was good, but if he just wanted a first handgun I fail to see what was so standard about the advice you gave. I advised him with the standard advice (mid-frame .38/.357 revolver, 3"-4" barrel). I would not give that as standard advice to anyone. I would suggest a handgun type or types based upon my conversations with the potential new shooter. The choice of handgun may well depend on its intended use, shooter interests/inclinations, and so on. Then after making my suggestions I would also recommend that the potential buyer/shooter go to a range and rent some weapons for testing to get a feel for them. This often has a marked impact on which they wind up selecting and, it probably would have them appreciate your advice a whole lot more.

All the best,

The Freeholder
June 23, 2005, 08:45 AM
Many times those who seek "advice" are actually asking for validation for a choice they've already made.

lee n. field
June 23, 2005, 08:51 AM
So now, he's got a Taurus 851Ti that he wants to trade off for a bigger revolver, which is what I told him in the first place.

Why don't they listen?

They must learn by (expensive) experience.

Hey. I'm fairly recoil insensitive. I'll trade him my Taurus Model 66 for his popgun. :)

June 23, 2005, 09:07 AM
99%+ of the time buying decisions are made on emotion. Facts are used to justify emotional decisions. Seeking advice falls into the category of facts.

If you enjoyed reading about "When people ask for advice, why don't they listen?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!