I’m male, not that this fact should explain anything, but I’ve noticed that guys seem hell bent on solving problems just so we can get back to watching or talking about the sports. When someone begins to tell me about the things that are bothering them I almost always have to fight the urge to tell them what they should do. My first inclination is to assume that they are unhappy about the situation and haven’t been able to see the way through it. This is, at least when dealing with most situations, a really bad way to move forward because people tend to know how to solve their own problems when they have identified them. The journey of their life is their own and only they are in a position to actually address their problems.
Now when I have a conversation with someone I consider the following things before saying anything: do they know what the problem is or is there even a problem? Have they identified their role in the creation of the situation, do they view themselves as a critical part of the situation and therefore the solution. Finally I wonder what they want from me, is my role to listen to them, is my role to think for them, is my role to guide them towards a solution that they uncover for themselves?
When I find myself in a conversation with someone who has an issue that is troubling them and I get the sense that I have the solution, I try to ask them “what do you need me to do right now, listen or give you advice?” More often than not, people will say “listen” and I keep my mouth shut and listen to them talk. This has the effect of lowering their resistance and keeping them open because it eliminates any feelings of judgment. Knowing that the other person is listening to what you have to say and not just waiting for their turn to tell you what they think affords you the opportunity to actually say WHATEVER is on your mind. Most importantly, remaining open keeps the creative energy flowing and this is going to be the best way for a person to identify and find a solution to their problem.
When listening to another person always try to keep in mind that they are on their own journey and should feel free to navigate life as they deem appropriate. If you approach their life from your perspective, unless you have lived their life, you are likely giving them advice that applies to your journey, which isn’t as helpful as you could be.