Recently I had a conversation with my best friend that left me a bit dumbfounded (and made me think very hard).
She was telling me about a problem she was facing and how frustrated she felt. My natural instinct was to find a solution for her. I just wanted to make her life better!
Why don’t you try doing this … or that …
Yeah but it doesn’t help … you don’t understand …
Okay yeah but how about you do this instead? …
Sya, I don’t need you to fix my problem. I was just looking for some empathy.
I was taken aback. Not by what she said. But by the fact that I had been missing the entire point of this conversation.
As her best friend, she wasn’t turning to me for a solution because she knows I can’t give her one. She was looking for empathy. Someone to listen. Someone to understand.
I suddenly began to feel real empathy, because I know what she means by wanting someone to just listen. I feel that way too. Sometimes you just want to rant you know.
And I get that. But I forgot in that moment. And it does feel like I’ve been forgetting to empathise lately.
I noticed that as I’m getting older, I find myself being more solutions oriented. (Which is a great thing…at work.) Like whenever I am faced with having to deal with people’s emotions, I just so badly want to help them to feel better, by offering them a realistic solution. You know…it’ll be good for them! But not necessarily.
Sometimes people don’t need a solution. They just need you to listen, and show support.