If i want to get someone to the good path, who is not leading a good way of life, what should I do and where should I begin?

Many of my friends do not have much understanding of life and they often make so many mistakes. As I have learned about the consequences of untamed words and actions, I fear for them and I want to know how to get them to listen and think about their own stupid actions.

Are there any Theravada teachings on this matter? And/or do you have other advice (all answers are welcome and I am happy to learn every perspective)?

  • 1
    You have to be careful such that this intention does not come from the conceit "I am better then my friends. I am better, I know, you don't know, I see, you don't see. I will show what you have to do." You will find that is very hard to change others, its easier to change oneself.
    – user4878
    Oct 30, 2015 at 6:54
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    What does the theravada tag mean on this question? Normally a tag like that is used for questions about literature (e.g. Theravada suttas contrasted with Mahayana sutras) or questions about doctrine (if a doctrine is different between the different schools).
    – ChrisW
    Oct 30, 2015 at 17:06
  • @ChrisW , iwanted to find any Theravada teachings on this matter (if there are any) thank you for the comment :)
    – Theravada
    Oct 30, 2015 at 19:34
  • I understand @UrsulRosu thank you for the comment :)
    – Theravada
    Oct 30, 2015 at 19:34
  • Does that mean that judehey2's answer, for example, is off-topic? Or is there something about that answer which makes it specifically a "Theravada teaching"? On this site, adding a school-specific tag like theravada to a question is usually used as a signal to say that general (not school-specific) answers are not allowed for that question.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 30, 2015 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


The only way to influence others' behavior is through example. Your question presupposes that your friends have a desire to change. Not everyone wants to change, or wants your help in modifying their behavior. You might consider expanding your friendship base (i.e., find new friends) if your current friends' behavior is not to your liking. We cannot assert ourselves or our beliefs onto others. We can only influence by example.


You wrote,

I have learned about the consequences of untamed words and actions i fear for them and i want to know how to get them to listen and think about their own stupid actions

It might be difficult for you to get them to think about their stupid actions. For example if you say, "your actions are stupid, you should think about them", then they might be averse to listening.

It might be easier to talk to them about your stupid actions:

  • If they are friends of yours then they might want to hear stories about you
  • If they're your actions, then you know those actions and their consequences and are able to talk about them

You might say something like, "Did I tell you about when I used untamed words and actions? I caused so much trouble! Here's what happened ... (tell the story) ... What I learned was (tell the lesson) ... That's why I don't do that any more. Now I do (something else) that actually works a lot better for me."

That is (very approximately) how an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting works, for example.

You didn't say exactly what kind of "untamed words and actions" you're worried about, but talking about yourself might be a general solution. For example I met a married couple recently, of whom one seemed to criticize the other a bit more than I thought was healthy. I considered telling them not to do that, and decided that it wasn't my business and that they wouldn't accept it from me. So instead (without mentioning them) I told them about my experience with my relationship with my wife, how we learned to stop our arguing; and I hope that was a more successful/informative/hopeful conversation.

In summary, maybe talk out of your own experience.

Also consider getting expert/specialized help or advice (e.g. ask a doctor or a teacher).

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