larry david

Larry David Was Onto Something With His Unsolicited Advice, Study Says ‘Prettaaay Good’

If you think Larry David is just another curmudgeon who made an entertainment career out of complaining, well, you’re right. But according to scientific research, he might also be onto something. That’s because a new Harvard study suggests that unsolicited advice is actually more appreciated than we previously thought.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, involved a woman with a mark on her face who surveyed 200 Harvard students on campus. Sometimes the mark was lipstick, other times it was chocolate. Of all the people who spoke to her, 155 noticed the mark but only four people gave her a heads-up about it!

“We all like to think of ourselves as someone who would give someone feedback in this kind of situation, but our study showed that most people don’t,” Nicole Abi-Esber, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Business School, told Mel Magazine. “The overwhelming question people have in these scenarios is: ‘Why didn’t anyone tell me?’”

In other words, people want to know what you’re thinking, even if it’s less than flattering.

So, back to Curb Your Enthusiasm. Fans of the show will remember David’s ongoing beef with Mocha Joe’s. In Season 10, David can’t help but badger coffeeshop owner Joe about everything that’s wrong with his establishment, from the consistency of his scones to the unstable tables.

Most of us would probably find this kind of nit-picking annoying, but according to the study, David is actually doing Mocha Joe a solid.

There’s more research to back up this assertion. The researchers at Harvard conducted five additional surveys, asking participants to ruminate on real or hypothetical scenarios where they received feedback that might be uncomfortable to hear. What they found was that people tend to overestimate how cringey such exchanges would be. People seem to prefer to withhold what could be helpful information in order to help others save face. But what does that get us, per Larry David? Too-soft scones and wobbly tables!

Abi-Esber’s takeaway from all this? “We recommend leaning into the awkwardness.”

So the next time you have some constructive criticism for a business owner, your co-worker, or a family member, go ahead and open your big fat mouth. You never know. They just might thank you for it.

Cover Photo: HBO