We’ve all done it. Having a friend or partner confront us about a problem and we immediately follow by changing the spotlight on ourselves and giving unsolicited advice.
This is a trait that can really make or break our everyday relationships.
By: Jason Suerte Felipe
We all have our own set of deep and complex issues. And when we choose to share them with others, we expect the other to be a sounding board to our troubles. Really listening and engaging with our issues. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
While watching “One Trait That Makes You A Better Friend” by YouTuber Anna Akana, she mentions how she gets into this pattern of offering unsolicited advice when her friends have problems.
Often times when we do that, we disengage from the conversation. Eyes gloss over and heads nod in agreement while you just ramble on and on- making it about you. And this is something that most times we are not aware of. Of course when we see a friend hurting, we reach out and give them affirmations and advice because we think that’s what they want to hear. But don’t give advice if they don’t verbally ask you for it. What we really need to do in those types of situations is just- listen.
We are so caught up in thinking of the perfect response that we withdraw from the conversation and are stuck in our thoughts rather than listening to the person right in front of us.
Like Akana and most of us out there, I’ve realized just how much I do this in my personal relationships. I listen to problems a friend is facing and I respond with personal experiences thinking I’m aiding them in some way but I’m really shifting the spotlight on me and my own problems.
So instead of trying to solve their problem and compare experiences, why not just try and explore their feelings. This doesn’t mean you don’t have the space to discuss your own problems- because you do. Just recognize when you’re shifting the spotlight.
Food For Thought
It’s such a simple but huge thing we can do to gain more engaging and meaningful relationships. Instead of shifting the spotlight back and forth, think about asking questions like: How does that make you feel? How are you handling it? I understand why that would make you upset, what do you think you are going to do?
Yes, you might sound like an unlicensed therapist but just being there and being
a sounding board to someone can really impact the connections you have. Giving you a more deeper and meaningful understanding with others.
We all can work on being fully present and fully engaged when communicating with others. I encourage you to think how often you shift the spotlight and really try and see how different your conversations can go without being lost in your head.
See what it’s about here!