During the COVID pandemic it has become more important than ever to look after our mental health. This means having the right support network in place and someone to talk to when things get too much.
When we are called to support someone in emotional distress, it can sometimes be as clear as mud what s being asked of us. I know from personal experience that communication can get pretty garbled. I also know it can get awkward.
It is worth finding out early on whether it is practical support, a listening ear, advice, encouragement or attention they are seeking (and anything else I haven’t thought of).
It is then important that when someone DOES articulate their support needs, we listen and don’t impose what WE think they are. The last thing they need is for someone to project their own emotional makeup. Everyone is wired differently.
The specific point I want to make here is with regard to advice. Again in my experience, when someone spills their guts, they are almost NEVER looking for advice, they just want to be heard without judgement. The worst thing we can possibly do, unless someone specifically asks for it, is offer our tuppence worth based on backseat assumptions and limited knowledge of the other person’s situation.
Just as mental health issues have hit an all-time high, so has projection. Since we’re all going to lose our shit sooner or later, we owe it to each other to cut it out.