For some reason, when someone opens up to us about a problem or a situation, the first thing we do is try to make that person feel better. We will say things like “It’ll get better!” or “It could always be worse.”
The truth is, that does not always help everyone. Anytime someone is going through any kind of situation, there are usually real feelings involved. Someone could be scared, anxious, upset, etc.
Here is something to keep in mind: The situation will probably get better (or worse), but regardless, the feelings are still VERY real at that time! When we try to make people feel better, saying statements like mentioned above actually ends up discounting or disregarding their feelings.
When someone decides to open up to you, first, take that as a huge compliment they trust you that much. Second, focus on the feelings. For example, if someone is scared because of something that is happening to them, let them talk about being scared. Instead of saying “Oh don’t be scared, it’ll be fine!” ask question like “Why does this have you scared? What can I do to help you with being scared?” That’s what they really want to talk about. It’s the acknowledgment of the emotions that helps people struggling with something start to move on.
If people do not feel comfortable opening up about their feelings because they are tired of those fluffer comments, they will keep it all inside. They will isolate themselves from you and everyone else. That is a torturous and painful way to live, just stewing in your own feelings and emotions. This can cause our friends and family going through something like this to take drastic actions to escape the pain and now loneliness.
I hope this post finds you well and that you are able to see the world through empathetic eyes and ears.