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Relationship closeness predicts unsolicited advice giving in supportive interactions


Advice is a common element of supportive interactions, but unsolicited advice can harm the advice recipient as well as the relationship between the advice recipient and the advice giver. Despite the potential negative implications of unsolicited advice, very little is known about what predicts unsolicited advice giving in personal relationships. The present studies provide an empirical test of the association between relational closeness and unsolicited advice giving. In two studies, undergraduate students and members of the general population responded to hypothetical statements of discontent from friends who were not asking for advice. Relational closeness and unsolicited advice giving were positively correlated, with participants tending to provide more unsolicited advice to friends toward whom they felt greater relational closeness. Overall, participants gave unsolicited advice to their friends at a very early stage of a supportive interaction in approximately 70% of cases. Explanations and implications for these findings were discussed.

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