Back in the day, I remember my dad and my step mom reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I didn't read it although I heard anecdotes from it. I think that book actually helped some folks, but in other cases, I suspect it just confirmed their suspicions that the opposite sex would just "always respond differently".
Where I'm going is that when people come to me with issues I suppose I respond to them in a rather masculine fashion.... according to the above named book...
- Is there something that you want me to do to fix it?
- Do you just want me to listen?
- If so, for how long?
- If I listened to this last month and the month before... my willingness to listen is decreased.
- Especially if the advice I offered then wouldn't have changed.
- Really especially if you have a raft of excuses ready for any advice I might have offered (and did)
It's possible that because my dad played an integral role in raising me, that I'm just very pragmatic in my approach to resolving issues. I really see three options:
- Fix what can be fixed
- Decide to deal with what cannot be fixed
- Determine the point at which you would choose a different path to alter the situation (assuming it cannot be fixed)
Now, throw a butt load of compassion into the mix since I'm a walking "bleeding heart". I want to listen, I feel your pain, it's awful, I want to help, but once I've gone through all these steps with you, I'm out of ideas. And it doesn't matter if you're a co-worker, kid, friend... whatever. If you come to me, I approach things from the position that you want to fix something.
I'm aware that some folks don't want to fix things. They either want to be validated or they' just want to barf on you and leave you feeling unclean the rest of the day. But they're not ready to fix things, change anything, or look at things any differently. And I end up feeling one of two ways... Guilty because I don't know how to help them or relieved when they walk away so I don't have to keep trying.
Do y'all struggle with this? Do you feel like a big "fix it" person or not so much? I hate thinking that I might be alone in believing the glass is totally half full and wearing myself out trying to convince others that it's so!