The Genius of ‘Want to Grab Coffee?’

Importantly, asking for advice only made the participants seem smarter when they asked about something the mentor was a self-identified expert in. When the mentors were asked to weigh in on topics they had no knowledge of, the advice seeker was seen as less competent.

Advice Seeker Competence Chart

For people in need of guidance, the good news is that asking an expert for advice, generally, can only help. The bad news is that this does not mean humans are a bunch of altruistic saints who will help whoever they can. Instead, it appears that advice-seeking is just a more subtle form of ego-stroking.

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