When we complain, men (allegedly) want to solve our problems.And when they try to do that, fighting and hurt feelings ensue. Because, Dude! I totally know how to solve this problem! I’m just telling you about it because I bond by sharing my feelings!
I’m not a big complainer, but when I drink a glass of whine, I do, in fact, want cooing noises and conciliatory hand pats. But here’s the bad part. When people complain to me: I totally, totally try to solve their problems. Like, all the time.
And sometimes I do that passive aggressive thing where I ask them a series of questions to get them to say the thing I want them to say and then I act like they found the solution themselves. What a jerk!
But last week I was talking to a friend who’d been going through some tough health issues. She related how awful she felt and how deeply unhelpful her co-workers had been. I had no experience with her particular issue so all I was left with was “I’m sorry, dude. That sucks.”
And I felt like a terrible friend! Shouldn’t I be emailing her links to doctors and trying to feed her saltines and ginger ale? I said as much and you know what her response was?
“I think people really underestimate the power of ‘I’m sorry, dude. That’s sucks.”
And I think she’s right. Your friends are probably smart enough to solve their own problems. Click To Tweet
You’re not trotting out hackneyed cliches about “things working out” or “everything happening for a reason.” You’re showing them that you’re listening and that you care and that you’re not judging.
Sans cooing noises.
What do you do when your friends complain? Are you a problem solver or a conciliator?