Last week I observed someone who was sharing (with a certain amount of bravery I might add) the details of a breakup with a friend (sister?) in a cafe. They were met with a disappointing lack of empathy and a heap of really unhelpful “advice” they so clearly were SO not ready for.
It was hard to hear! This is what I would have liked the friend/sister to have known…
Just how annoying the “You should just…” is when you share something that is troubling you ?
Some of the time we are just venting or processing out loud and not looking for input or solutions. Having a solution rammed down our throat and our hurt invalidated does NOT feel good and it not helpful ?
We can all get better at this and model helpful behaviour so we have more chance of getting it in return later.
?♀️ “That sounds hard. Tell me more”
?♀️ “That sounds really tough. Do you want to bounce possible solutions or do you just need to vent right now? What do you need? I’m listening”.
?♀️ ”I haven’t been in your shoes on this but I’d love to help you. What do you need most right now?”
If someone is ASKING for your input and advice – give it! That fresh perspective can be SO helpful. But…listen closely before you jump in…ARE they asking for it yet?! ?♀️ Maybe the most helpful thing you can do in this moment is listen really closely and offer a shoulder.
If you are not sure if it’s time to offer possible solutions – just ASK! It’s hard to see someone we care about suffering, but timing is everything. You may have the perfect solution if perspective but they need to be READY to HEAR it!
Also, bear in mind…you can only ever know a small slice of what’s really going on for them. Even if you feel you have been directly in their shoes, YOU HAVEN’T!
So BE KIND ?
And if you are on the receiving end, don’t be be afraid to ask for what you need – people welcome clarity (even if that clarity is telling them to button it!) Listen to what’s helpful but only take what resonates.
Only YOU know what it’s like to BE YOU in the situation you are in. Take that support but also trust hard in your own intuition to know what’s right for you ?