Do You Want Me To Listen or Do You Want Me To Give You Advice?

A Different Approach To Support A Struggling Loved One.

by, Emily Carlson

Many people want to support loved ones in their lives who are struggling but do not know where to start. A big thing that I have heard people say is they don’t check-in or ask how someone is doing because they do not want to say the wrong thing. One approach to opening a conversation, and letting a friend or family member know that you are here to support them can be saying, “do you just want me to listen, or do you want advice?”

I have a lot of experience with many different struggles; therefore, I immediately jump to help. I want to fix the problem and make them feel better in the moment, but there are many instances where some people just want a listening ear.

I think asking that question whether they want a listening ear or advice can allow the conversation to go further.  If someone wants you to listen, then you listen. If someone asks for advice, then, of course, that opens the door to your insight as someone who knows this person. I think in the end, that approach will help both parties because then you are on the same page on what kind of support they need at that moment, and then you know how to give that support without feeling like you are saying the wrong thing or taking it in a different direction.


I will also say this, if you see someone that seems like they are having a hard time or you notice they have been acting differently, there is nothing wrong with asking how they are doing. It makes people feel seen and heard. When people struggle and feel like they do not have any support, there is that internal voice wanting someone to notice. No one has to go through these dark times alone.

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