It’s not easy seeing somebody you love go through a difficult time or experience in their life. As a matter of fact, it’s in my nature to want to help them and to offer advice. Truth be told, they may not want to hear my advice. They may feel like I’m meddling in their personal life. They may only need to get something off their chest or to have somebody actually listen and acknowledge their feelings. As hard as it is to understand, not everybody wants you to offer your thoughts and feelings on what they are struggling with.
I’ve come to the understanding that I may be hypocritical when it comes to this. I’m not an open book. I don’t share my problems with the world, with social media or with close family and friends. More times than not, I keep everything inside. “I can handle this,” is often my way of thinking. Although I know this is not the healthy way to handle things, it is my way.
I’ve become more conscious of this and have realized that sometimes I have to take a step back and not overwhelm somebody with my unsolicited advice. Trust me, this is not as easy as it sounds. It seems as though it’s human nature to want to help the ones you care about and to take away their hurt.
So, what can you do? How can you show your support and be there for that person who could really use a shoulder to lean on?
- Remember this is about them, not you or what you’ve been through. Although you may have the best of intentions by telling them you can relate and why you can relate, refrain, it won’t help their situation. They need to know you are genuinely concerned about their feelings and aren’t making this about you.
- Listen. Show them their feelings are important and give them the confidence they need to feel comfortable enough with you to unload those feelings.
- Don’t interrupt and don’t judge. Trivializing their situation is a mistake many people make without realizing they are doing so.
- Respect – Know when not to say something and avoid hammering them with advice.
Remember, being a good listener takes practice and patience but it’s a key factor in being able to show your concern and support to the ones you care about.