When a friend reaches out to you in a difficult situation, how do you respond?
Usually, our reaction is to offer advice, give a pep talk and try to boost their confidence or downplay the seriousness of their circumstances.
Here are three ways you can respond in a way that helps them:
Avoid Offering Unsolicited Advice
When people text you, share their emotions, or call to talk about a situation, they are not looking for a solution. They just want to vent their frustrations or share their emotions. They may just want to be heard and know that their thoughts are not completely unwarranted.
Giving people unsolicited advice is not the same as offering them an assurance. Save the advice until specifically asked what you would do in a similar situation.
Don’t Downplay Their Situation
Although it may seem like a positive spin, trying to tell them to look at the bright side might not help. It might make them feel as though you do not understand the gravity of their situation.
Avoid comparing their problems with those of others. Statements like, “Well, at least you should be thankful that you have food on the table and roof over your head,” will make them wonder if you are uninterested in listening to their problems.
When You Respond, Don’t Put The Focus On You
Avoid making any comparisons to situations you faced in the past. In doing so, you may hijack the conversation from them and put the focus on you and how you dealt with the problem in the past.
People want you to care about what is happening to them now. They do not care about what happened to you in the past when they are dealing with a current problem.
The best you can do is offer your presence. Helping them overcome their situation requires asking the right questions and then listening. Truly listening.
Sheevaun Moran is a business advisor, master coach, quantum energy thought leader and the founder of Energetic Solutions. She uses business principles with energetic techniques to help more than 25,000 entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders bring instant focus and shifts to clarity, purpose, and profits.
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