Advice, Relationships and Trust

by Kris Kelley
(Las Vegas, Nevada)

Imagine the relationship between parents and children, teacher and student, superior (boss) and subordinate staff, massage therapist and client, etc.


When receiving advice, we can accept advice from a certain person, but cannot accept the very same advice from another person. Have you ever had such an experience?

Everybody has a particular person from whom they do not want to accept advice. Why does a different reaction occur in us when we receive the same advice from two different people?

The ability to accept advice from someone depends entirely upon whether a relationship of trust has been built between you, or not. If you have a relationship of trust, even if you receive a tough form of advice, you can accept it.

But if the trustful relationship is not there, you will oppose him or her and not be able to accept the advice.

Therefore, the person who gives advice has to check whether s/he already has this relationship of trust with the person who receives advice. This is much more important than simply checking the way of advising.

One of my acquaintances is a man with the best of intentions. He feels free to tell anything he thinks is important to his partner even if the thing he is telling is not the favorite subject of the partner.

However, the problem is that he changes his attitude depending on his mood, and he cannot control this.

From other people’s point of view, since he often loses his temper, people cannot trust him. With such a nature, when he gives advice in detail about any subject, nobody wants to listen to him. Then he is very dissatisfied because nobody accepts his ‘kind’ advice. It is a vicious circle and nobody benefits.

The important point is never ‘what to advise’ but ‘who advises’. If there is an established relationship of trust, the advice will be effective. In the many popular ‘how-to’ books, they advise communication techniques such as “It is better to advise subordinates in such a manner...” etc. However, these techniques will become meaningful only with the existence of a relationship of trust. Nobody wants to listen to a person who is untrustworthy even if he has learned excellent communication techniques.

When I instruct in a seminar, even though what to instruct is also important, I take great care to use trustful words, behavior and actions. If we can establish a relationship of trust between us, then my instruction will be understood. If there is no relationship of trust, my instruction will not be understood. Therefore, the most important thing as an instructor is to become a person who is trustworthy. Before considering ‘what to instruct’, we need to consider ‘who instructs.’

In many cases, the first impression is an important factor whether to be trusted or not. This can be established by making a number of minimal efforts day by day.

When I advise somebody, I carefully check whether there is a relationship of trust with the person. If there is, I can go ahead and make even tough advice without hesitation. If there is not a sufficient relationship of trust, I will wait to offer advice until after having built up a solid relationship of trust, or ask someone else to speak for me who already has a relationship of trust with the person whom I intend to advise. In this way, the person will be able to accept the advice.

It is basic in all matters to act only after building up a relationship of trust. In the case of the massage therapist, before considering how to advise a client, it is important to consider how to build up a relationship of trust with clients.

In the case of an instructor, before considering how to instruct, it is important to consider how to build up a relationship of trust with the students.

Once again, trust is the emotion of your massage therapy business. You have to earn it.


Kris Kelley



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