Why Do So Many Of Us Read Advice Columns?
"Hey, If I want your advice, I'll ask for it!" Ever been told that - or said that? It's a pretty common sentiment considering there are any number of studies indicating that generally speaking, people don't like to take advice from one another.
Given that, how come so many of us like to read advice columns?
Time Magazine reports on Lori Gottlieb, the psychotherapist who writes the Atlantic's "Dear Therapist" column, who says the appeal comes from the fact that, though we all feel unique, our problems tend to be similar. She explains, "Readers might say to their friends, 'I'm reading it because it's voyeuristic and fun, but I think that people are really reading it the same way when they say they're 'asking for a friend.'
Psychologists say readers find familiarity and pieces of their own lives in each letter--that and the need for a social connection with others are both part of the interest in advice columns.
Advice columns have been around for about 300 years, and with the breadth of current interest, it doesn't seem they're going anywhere anytime soon.