One day I was sitting with my mom and she turned to me and said “you know there are certain things that you just shouldn’t say to someone when they’re talking about their problems “. I had a fair idea but I let her continue. She went on to say “I’ve seen how unknowingly when we’re listening to someone, we say that I understand or I know. I feel there’s no way of actually knowing how a person is going through a bad time and dealing with the situation. You should listen to them and wait for them to finish until you try and impart wisdom. Everyone needs space to talk and express themselves. Saying that it happens and it’s okay we indirectly stop them from sharing. If we continuously interrupt them while they talk and repeatedly tell them what we would’ve done or point out the fact that they’re wrong while they’re talking to, they might not feel comfortable talking to us the next time they need someone to talk to.”
Mom was right. I thought about what she had said to me. We’re all a little selfish. Whenever somebody tells us about their hardships we begin to remind them of ours. It may be with an intention of guiding them but it is not always perceived that way. We shouldn’t try to normalise what someone is going through. Be patient. Hear them out. The next time you’re trying to provide support to a friend or family member don’t say it’s okay , don’t try to tell them you understand because in that moment they don’t think anyone understands. We can come off as someone who is insensitive when we don’t let our friend or family member talk to us openly without any interruption. It’s natural to feel like you want to help them and don’t want them to struggle but staying quiet leaves room for the other person to ponder over the situation and at times helps them reach a conclusion themselves. Our solutions might be best when we think about how we would be tackling the problem but it can be different from how your friend or family member likes to deal with the situation. In my opinion silent support is possibly one of the best ways to be there for a person. The next time you’re in a similar situation be empathetic towards them but refrain from saying a lot because if things go wrong after you give them advice then they’d say it’s your fault.