We have a tendency to want to help one another. This can be especially true for friends, relatives, and loved ones. It is a way of ensuring the people we care about are doing well and are happy. This is why friends and family confide in each other, often about very sensitive and personal topics. These can range from fears, doubts, relationship issues or other life concerns. A lot of times, we also share our achievements and happiness with each other.
When problems in a person’s life become too big to handle alone, they might turn to friends and family. Friends and family may be well-meaning, but might be making things worse for the person looking for help.
We can be dismissive
Without meaning to be, we can sometimes be dismissive to problems people face. Some of the most common dismissals are:
- Don’t worry about it.
- It’s not so bad, really.
- Other people have it worse.
When we say any of those things, what we are doing is trying to diminish the problem, and possibly even distract from the problem. However, the problem still hasn’t been dealt with and will linger on. The person may also not be able to will themselves to not worry, and could even introduce stress on top of the problems they might be facing. These statements also tend to make it sound like the problems aren’t important even though they clearly are important enough for the person that it is on their mind.
Far from helping, we might be making things worse by:
- Introducing stress and more worry.
- Making the person feel like their problems are unimportant.
- Making the person feel bad for being affected by seemingly “trivial” issues.
We all want to help those we are close to, and we all have our opinions on how to deal with problems, but the ways that we manage and deal with our problems may not be ideal for another person. Sometimes it is just better to listen, and sympathise, without judgement for those who come to us for help. Advice is free and plentiful, but good advice, and effective advice, require experience, knowledge, and a little bit of training, education, and wisdom.
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