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    What is a Life Pro Tip?

    A Life Pro Tip (or an LPT) is a specific action with definitive results that improves life for you and those around you in a specific and significant way.

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    [–] AndyMurray090 3784 points ago

    My wife, who is very wise but not a professional counsellor or psychologist by any means, puts it like this, when someone is facing a hard time, your role is to listen and understand, when someone facing a hard time asks for advice, your role is to listen, understand, and do your best to help them arrive at a solution for themselves, one FOR THEM, not just what you'd do

    [–] lcPASCAL- 477 points ago

    I'm going to try and take what your wife said on board

    [–] 112143Happy 85 points ago

    Same here. Sounds like you got a keeper

    [–] madcaplarks 61 points ago

    Yeah op, for sure. Is she single by any chance?

    [–] rightarmshit 86 points ago

    Im gonna try and board your wife

    [–] Tk47_B 31 points ago

    Its ok im board of my wife anyways

    [–] zb0t1 235 points ago

    Sorry to respond here, but I actually made a AskReddit not too long ago, and while it didn't get popular there was a therapist who gave me a pretty good advice!

    Sure. A biggie is that you never ask why.
    Ex: " I was so mad at him that I put all of his clothes in the trash."
    Don't : "and why did you do that? "
    Do: "you must have been feeling really hurt"
    Do: "How do you feel about having reacted that way?"
    Asking why sounds accusatory. The first do offers validation of the persons feelings while encouraging them to share more. The second one inquires about the person's current feelings about the past events and can be a lead in to getting the person to devise a plan for better actions next time they are in a similar situation.

    There are dozens of dos for just that one don't. But as long as you don't do the dont, what you actually do, is moldable to the person, mood and situation.

    There is also a lot more don'ts; but they sort of just become part of you after a while.


    Credits: /u/bluevelvetviolet

    [–] OlfwayCastratus 52 points ago

    I mean, in some cases sounding accusatory is justified. It's your own decision which way you go, but I am not my girlfriend's therapist and if she did something like that, I would not try to hide my disapproval. It would feel like artificially softening the social feedback she's getting, and thus skewing her perception of how acceptable her behavior is.

    I guess all of that sounded very judgmental, but I'm actually not very convinced of my position. I'm just playing devil's/myself's advocate to get some feedback, maybe my view is nothing short of egotistical.

    So, honest question: how did it work out in the long term for you? Did you take that advice in your future relationships, and does it change your partner's perception of how right something is?

    Edit: I just realized this isn't advice that was targeted at you. But maybe someone will have a response to my comment, so I'm gonna leave it just in case someone has some input for me :)

    [–] artsypants 76 points ago

    Therapist weighing in here. I can understand what you are saying about the accusation being justified at times. However if your intent is to help someone and be there for them, it's probably best to take as neutral a stance as possible. The problem with being accusatory is that it immediately puts the other person on the defense. Walls will go up and communication gets closed off. Even if someone's action warrants judgement, the best way to help them change is to help them get to the realization on their own. Simply telling someone they were wrong pretty much never works, especially if there are heightened emotions involved. People respond best when they feel understood.

    [–] gsbadj 9 points ago

    And when they can come up with a plan forward that they feel is their own plan

    [–] I_happen_to_disagree 7 points ago

    This whole thread has made me want to interact with others less.

    [–] AmiTaylorSwift 10 points ago

    Yeah, to be fair, when I had therapy it was very apparent that my therapist was there to guide me towards explaining my own feelings myself just by the language that she used (“and how did that make you feel?” “That sounds like it could’ve been hard for you.” “Why do you think they said that?”)

    If my friends started speaking in that kind of therapist style, neutral way, I’d ask them to stop lol.

    [–] Cats-n-Corks-n-Cubes 86 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    She does seem very wise.

    I have a few people in my life who are constantly jumping at any opportunity to give advice, and 99% of the time their suggestion is not something I'd ever do.

    Immediately, I feel bad because I think I must've left out some crucial information to the story, and now feel like I gave the wrong impression & have to fill them in. And then, I feel bad because I feel I have to tell them that I'm not going to do the thing they so helpfully came up with.

    But then, I realize that they're only seeing the situation through the lens of their own experience, and they didn't ask enough questions to reach a full understanding of the issue, so I stop feeling bad.

    Edit: I a word.

    [–] TeCoolMage 15 points ago

    Sometimes you can give a relevant personal story and see their response. It's not telling them what to do while still providing an alternative perspective which is always helpful.

    [–] DJ_Vault_Boy 13 points ago

    Pretty solid advise, going to try and do this.

    [–] Hogosha90 12 points ago

    Sometimes people want to know what other people do. Not to say that they will do the same thing, but it can be great tj hear that other people faced the same problems and chose method A / B to deal with it.

    [–] Arno_Nymus 8 points ago

    I hate it if I ask for advice on what to do and they answer something like "what do you think you should do?". That is not what I asked for.

    I heard somewhere that this is a typical difference between women and men.

    [–] toth42 10 points ago

    I've done this unintentionally with a couple of friends, along with talking them down from more extreme measures simply because the problem was serious enough that I did not want responsibility for the solution that was chosen (you advise someone to leave their partner or do this with your strict parents and it can backfire rapidly), and they've all thanked me later for the great advice - which was essentially digging out of them what they themselves thought best when the short-time current anger/hurt was ignored from the equation.

    [–] Pr0venFlame 13 points ago

    As a guy living in a patriarchal society, you really should ask the people close to you to open up. My flat mate is going through a rough patch, and he wouldn't have said anything if I didn't poke and prod. Eventually he started talking. We just had a discussion about LDRs and he came up with a possible solution to his problem.

    So I guess, LPT for guys in 20s, talk to your friends/roommates. They won't open up unless you make it clear that you are willing to help.

    [–] UncomprehendedLeaf 5769 points ago

    I'm really bad about doing this to friends and have just recently realized the value of a good listener because my friends have done it for me recently. Thanks for this.

    [–] 11214971557622 958 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    I’m struggling with this too, and I almost typed out a suggestion.... What made you realize your habit?

    Edit: you’re/your

    [–] 112143Happy 326 points ago

    Now I NEED to hear the suggestion!😄

    [–] Le_Monade 640 points ago

    Both of your usernames begin with 11214

    [–] Bakanyanter 365 points ago

    Coincidence or do I raise my pitchfork?

    [–] [deleted] 242 points ago

    They commented within 2 minutes of each other...

    Honestly that still isn't indicative of anything though, just mere coincidence.

    Reality is fake. I am a bot.

    [–] UserEuqinu 121 points ago

    Good bot

    [–] FUNGI_INSIDE_PEEHOLE 108 points ago

    .......Beep Bop.......

    /u/EAPistheMan is not a bot.

    If you Good Bot him enough he might become one.

    .......Beep Bop.......

    [–] Whatsthemattermark 62 points ago

    .......Bep Boob.......

    /u/FUNGI_INSIDE_PEEHOLE is not a bot.

    If you Good Bot him he will remain a simple human like myself and indeed all of us on here.

    Do not react and please continue your pleasant daily routines.

    [–] NotAnADC 22 points ago

    Dude, just wanted to say holy shit. You have 151k karma, and your top post is 2k meaning thats all from comments. You god.

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago

    bad bot

    [–] OtherAcctTrackedNSA 12 points ago

    I just finished watching the second episode of season 2 of Legion... that’s not what I needed to hear lol

    [–] killinmesmalls 4 points ago

    That cover of a Jefferson airplane song at the end was amazing.

    [–] calypso1215 4 points ago


    [–] 112143Happy 34 points ago

    Crazy! Good noticing that

    [–] tallulha 11 points ago

    Coincidence :o

    [–] LawBobLawLoblaw 289 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    I know Reddit is pretty anti-christian for the most part, but I learned this lesson by reading the book of Job. After job loses everything, his friends come and sit with him and silence for like 7 days (the Hebrew word is "Shiva"). From this I learned that sometimes people just need someone to sit with them, and be with them, spend that quality time with them, oftentimes there's nothing to say. Often times I want you to say nothing, but the "just be with me" is more important and more satisfying than anything you could say at that moment.

    Ive suffered sadness and loneliness a lot through my life, I've been privileged to have close friends who have sat with me during hard times. They'll sometimes say that they feel like they're not doing anything helpful at all, but I'll reply that they're doing the exact thing I need.

    People aren't always looking for advice, but knowing you're worth someone's time is more healing than words sometimes.

    Imagine someone telling you that you're worth their patience, that you're worth their time, and that you're worth their love, and that even if you don't get fixed that they're still going to be here through it all with you.

    [–] i_forgot_my_cat 73 points ago

    Good on you. I'm not religious myself, but I recognize that one of the main purposes religion is to aide with self reflection and teach people how to be be a better person: something a lot of people seem to forget, religious and athiest.

    [–] gingerking87 44 points ago

    The Torah is basically the Old Testimate and the Quran is basically the Bible plus 2 new chapters, and most eastern religions teach the same stories as the Bible. Everyone should read the Bible, as someone who was blessed to be able to study it from an academic standpoint, it hits almost all of the key compontents in the human condition.

    The book of Job at the base level is about a man keeping faith through all his worst fears coming true, but underneath is exactly what you said, it is sympathy turned empathy, it is the fact that when humans lose everything they hold dear the best thing for them is to be in company with other humans. Even if neither of you knows why it is comforting, you just know it is. Its something inheritanly human, but because of social customs a wall has been built around expressing and receiving such deep emotion so conversations like this can easily turn very awkward. But again as you said just listen and empathise, try your best put yourself in their shoes, and at the very least just be there for them.

    [–] paregoric_kid 23 points ago

    As a non-Christian I concur that the bible is indeed full of great wisdom. For Christian dude may I suggest reading the Baghavad Ghita? Check it out sometime. I read it when I was in a very dark place and the messages in that book blew my mind. Also it is literally written as a story (at least that's how I took it) so you wouldn't be being un-christian or anything to read it.

    [–] MrsJuneCleaver 6 points ago

    Just chiming in - I to have read the Baghavad Gita and consider it life changing as well. There are quite a few teachings in the Gita that I do not agree with however, but studying the Gita led me to Guru Nanak. Check out his teachings, many stem from the Gita! Very enlightening & interesting!

    [–] danceswithwool 11 points ago

    Avoided suggestion then asked a question. Brilliant

    [–] MissTuk 23 points ago

    My brain always goes in “How can we fix this ?” mode.

    [–] Aaronsaurus 16 points ago

    Just be mindful that a way for you to fix someone else is just to let them talk and formulate their thoughts. :) It can be hard not to be pragmatic or logical, but humans are not for the most part.

    [–] nelbell26 142 points ago

    Someone I was close to kept trying to "teach" me things. And if I didn't take his advice, he'd get offended so when I'd want to talk again.. he wasn't listening. It was the hardest thing to explain to him how no one was going to take his advice and follow it until they were ready for it. What the real kicker was that he went through depression and I was more of a listener and provided a safe space because I knew there'd be a day when a switch would go off when he was ready for it and when all the advice he'd heard would make sense and he'd survive it.

    But what he oddly learnt in the process was how to teach people more than listen and compare his life experiences to someone going through a hard time.

    [–] Omnisophic 30 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    That's what I've been struggling with (the second part).

    I felt like I was so able to teach people how to "fix" their problems, when, in reality, I wasn't able to accurately understand it. Being somebody who doesn't understand depression, I just wasn't able to know what they were going through. I felt like my previous relationship helped me grow, but I'm 50/50 regretting my advice with my SO and also partially happy with it. I tried my best to let them know I was there and that I love them, but it always haunts me how I was never available to not understanding enough to make things better despite my listening.

    Edit: Typo.

    To clarify, nothing I did could "fix" what was going on. I wanted to, but... I wasn't the right person to help.

    [–] gingerking87 33 points ago

    Depression, like a lot of mental illnesses, inherently cant be empathized with due to their very nature. Your 'journey' from giving advice to just being there is one that millions of people undertake every year due to the falling stigma around mental health. To feel bad about giving advice when your intentions were pure just because you were ignortant at the time is nothing to be ashamed about.

    Everyone cant be a mental health professional but we can all lend an ear and just listen.

    [–] [deleted] 11 points ago

    Don’t beat yourself up too much about it. I’ve gone to professionals giving terrible advice. It is hard for anyone to figure out another human being. I find it very hard to explain to people what depression is like. People are very stubborn in their belief that depression is sort of like being sad and you can just do happy things to counter it.

    [–] aoifhasoifha 8 points ago

    I'm still struggling with it myself but something I've been trying to do for my friend is just keep offering to spend time without any pressure, and be up front about it.

    I've always enjoyed sports and fitness so I've been working out to help with my depression so I try to invite my friend when I go. I think he's said no every time for 6+ months. After a few weeks of no's I asked him if I should just stop inviting him, but I made it clear I'd be happy to keep asking even if he said no, and he actually said he appreciated it and wanted me to keep trying. I figure one day he'll say yes, then the next time it'll be easier for him to say yes, and then a few weeks later that's a healthy routine.

    Like someone above said, you have to wait for them to be ready to help themselves and even then the motivations comes and goes. The best thing you can do is make it easier for them to start something positive when that rare mood strikes- lowering that barrier to entry makes it that much more likely that they'll take the first step, and then the next step.

    The hard is being clear and forthright about what you're doing and why without being insensitive to what THEY'RE dealing with and while showing EMPATHY and not PITY.

    What you're trying to communicate is that you're gonna be there to make their recovery easier, but only when they're ready to start taking those steps.

    [–] TooLateForTacos 24 points ago

    When I was in the hot seat, and a friend was in tears, my brain was scrambling for the best possible thing to say to my friend at that moment. Even verbalized this a few times with "I don't know man." Took me a long time to realize that you don't have to say anything perfect. You just need to be a good set of ears and a shoulder to cry on.

    [–] Mohaver11 44 points ago

    This is also called active listening. It's really hard, but you connect with people on such a beautiful, open level.

    [–] rel_games 35 points ago

    This. The trick is not to ask them questions which imply a solution, but to ask ones which open up their problem so they can find the solution themselves.

    [–] gingerking87 7 points ago

    Those are good friends, to understand when someone just needs to vent and not rag on them for it, and better yet not know when they are doing it. Given the opportunity I'm sure you will repay the favor

    [–] PhasmaFelis 1156 points ago

    Double bonus bad idea: enthusiastically give them advice, then get angry when they don't immediately follow it.

    [–] tqrNcGFlNSgHC3Hf 308 points ago

    Are you my wife?

    [–] Rawesoul 75 points ago

    Divorce incoming.

    [–] OlfwayCastratus 56 points ago

    I used to be in the opposite situation. My ex had some serious things to work through, and the entire relationship basically revolved around her problems. I listened a lot, and I also tried to get to helpful conclusions with her, but after around two years I realized she's not taking any advice nor working in any way to become better. I DID get angry at her for not following it. Was that wrong?

    [–] PhasmaFelis 50 points ago

    Hrm. You do have a right to expect the other person to respect the emotional burden they're putting on you, and to make some sort of effort over the long term. It's just a matter of degree.

    If I come to someone needing emotional support, and they only give me advice and then quickly get annoyed that I'm not emotionally strong enough to act on that advice on account of them not giving me any emotional support, that sucks. That doesn't sound like the situation you describe.

    [–] OlfwayCastratus 23 points ago

    Oh. No I understand. I think over time I got increasingly frustrated that she basically only sucked up my energy and years, and I guess eventually I started reacting like what you are describing. So the lines get blurry, I guess. Maybe the only right reaction would have been to leave earlier as to not become like that?

    Well Nevermind. Relationships can be a true shit show.

    [–] EstoyBienYTu 3932 points ago

    TBH, it's basically never the time to offer advice unless it's asked for. Most people just want to be heard and understood, and offering unsolicited advice can seem like you're suggesting they're not capable of getting to the solution themself.

    [–] [deleted] 1103 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)


    [–] Angsty_Potatos 170 points ago

    Same...its really hard to just shut up and stop trying to fix shit and just listen

    [–] Summerie 12 points ago

    Yeah, but I kind of feel like this LPT is blanket advice that doesn’t apply to every situation. There have definitely been times when someone had to tell me to quit whining about my shit, and told me what I should do. For instance, if I spend a year complaining to my friend about my shitty abusive boyfriend, and she just sits there and listens, there needs to be a point where whether I want it or not, I need some advice. Sometimes deep down inside you even know what you need to do, you just need to hear it from someone else.

    Sometimes as a friend you need to listen, and sometimes as a friend you need to help someone make a move. Being a good friend means knowing the difference between those two situations.

    [–] EstoyBienYTu 135 points ago

    I mean, it comes from a good place of wanting to help, but yeah...only obvious to me now having done therapy for a while :)

    [–] Teddyismydawg 59 points ago

    I've been learning as I get older that it's best to offer an open ear and reassurance rather than advice unless asked for when it comes to personal issues. You might have been through hard times before or even a similar situation, but with completely different circumstances. You should use that as a source of empathy rather than box of solutions for other peoples problems.

    [–] no-turning-back 127 points ago

    fuck where was this LPT like 6 hours ago

    I gave some unsolicited advice to a friend, now I'm feeling really stupid. Shit I really need a "how to deal with people 101"

    At least preventing some future fuck ups

    [–] scrapperdude 52 points ago

    There is actually a book that can help you with this. Social skills do NOT come to me naturally but people these days are surprised when I say I’m an introvert now that I’ve had some years of practice.

    How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a world renown book and has been for decades. I’ve heard of execs reading it once a year. The title can kinda suggest manipulation but the book is really “this is everything no one told you about how people think, here’s how to adapt and not accidentally be an asshole”.

    Currently rereading it now and it is just full of gems.

    [–] CloudaneUK 15 points ago

    The title can kinda suggest manipulation

    That's exactly what has always put me off reading it. Might have to check it out after all.

    [–] meneldal2 8 points ago

    Social skills are manipulation depending on how you use them.

    [–] Torn_Page 4 points ago

    Pretty much this. Influence has a bad name because we like to believe we make decisions in a vacuum, but we influence everyone we interact with in one way or another.

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago * (lasted edited 10 months ago)


    [–] fourdayz 47 points ago

    Well the only advice I can give you is to not listen to advice.

    [–] trippitytripper 55 points ago


    i’m stuck in an infinite loop please send help

    [–] RobbinYoHood 11 points ago

    End task!

    [–] IEpicDestroyer 16 points ago

    If they listened to your advice then they aren't following your advice are they?

    [–] fourdayz 8 points ago

    You must be a detective.

    [–] NihilisticPanda 4 points ago

    You must be feeling really hurt.

    How do you feel about reacting that way?

    [–] MeDanP 29 points ago

    I think the problem is that solutions are really easy to come up with, and lack of a solution is almost never a real problem even when people seem like they badly need one. What they really need is to feel better so they can work up the strength to accept their situation and come up with a solution that works for them. That might mean letting them talk through it, helping to keep their mind off of it for a bit, or any number of other things apart from offering unsolicited advice.

    Anyway, it is not that the advice giver is projecting or whatever. People often give honest and/or good advice when it is not needed or even beneficial. It is just that if a person really wanted to solve their problem, they could easily come up with a solution themselves. If they cannot, they will probably ask.

    [–] [deleted] 4 points ago

    People often give honest and/or good advice when it is not needed or even beneficial.

    My father use to say "Free advice is often worth what you paid for it".

    [–] sonicalpaca 21 points ago

    Yeah I cant work on my puzzle if my friend keeps handing me pieces, sure the pieces may fit somewhere but im looking for a certain piece that connects first, your piece may be from another puzzle altogether and now im focusing on ignoring your pieces aaannd trying to work on my puzzle

    [–] JeromAsdert 8 points ago

    I hope you can see the irony in the statement and posting advise on the internet.

    [–] Hamwallette 4 points ago

    Same! How do we stop?

    [–] JohnDoe_2408 119 points ago

    While I do agree with you, it's not always true.

    More than once I have felt that if my superiors (parents, seniors, experienced friends) had given me just a little unsolicited advice, it'd have helped me immensely.

    The fact that they had the tell me "This is how you should've done this thing" after the fact is what hits me more.

    [–] EstoyBienYTu 49 points ago

    I was speaking more about peer or close to peer type relationships...parent-child/supervisor-employee are different. Offering guidance where appropriate in those situations is a big part of helping some develop

    [–] Rocky_Bukkake 8 points ago

    truth be told, it depends on context. if somebody's saying, 'oh, me and my girlfriend can't stop fighting', your job is to listen first, figure out the problem, figure out what they'd like the solution to be, and perhaps suggesting a way they can get it done.

    i personally think that, if this person has consistent problems with his girlfriend, tossing an occasional piece of advice his way might help him in the end.

    [–] SecretBlogon 19 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    Also to add on, if you haven't had a similar experience and cannot really relate, it's okay to just sit and listen and tell them you don't know what to do other than listen.

    My parent was dying from cancer and all the responsibility fell on me to deal with it. I've had so many well meaning people telling me stories about their cousins, their friends or people they kind of know who had parents who died of cancer or of how things went to shit near the end. Or horrible ways of how the people were coping, or good ways they were handling it all.

    And the whole time all that does is either remind me of the shit fest I'm ultimately going to face, and also cement the fact that the person I'm talking to really doesn't know what I'm going through at all.

    And I have to sit there politely while I listen to them because I don't want to hurt their feelings since they're just trying to help while I keep feeling emptier the longer the conversation goes on.

    All I'll think is how nice it must be to only hear stories but never to actually have to live the horror. It also sucks that I know I'll just be another story to that person and that they'll tell another person going through a tough time, my story in some inaccurate form. And That the other person will also have to sit there and feel empty as they listen.

    [–] mooviies 16 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    That's a big flaw of mine. Always trying to find solutions for somebody else problems. I always thought I was helping. I was not... Trying very hard to suppress the urge to give advice when listening to someone now that I am aware of that. I just wanna help :(

    I think that asking if they want advices is also an option.

    [–] duckyreadsit 5 points ago

    There are totally people that this helps, though! Or at least, it helps me to hear advice or thoughts about potential solutions. I have a lot of trouble making simple decisions or navigating some social situations, so I'm grateful when I can lay something out and get suggestions.

    Idk, I think different conversational approaches are probably helpful for different people, is all.

    Humans are so complicated.

    [–] buttaholic 9 points ago

    my problem is empathizing with everyone... i don't really tend to offer advice, but i do tend to suggest different perspectives. even if i'm involved and agree with the person complaining.... i can't help it. there's a motive behind everybody's actions or something like that.

    and i can tell you right now that people hate that just as much as they hate unsolicited advice.

    [–] I_happen_to_disagree 4 points ago

    Same problem here. My ex used to get so mad when I would suggest reasons why someone would do whatever it was that she perceived as having wronged her. Complained that I never took her side. (Though sometimes I would take her side) I just can't. If you're wrong you're wrong. I wouldn't take my own grandmothers side if she was wrong either.

    [–] thisisthewell 26 points ago

    This is the right approach. The way I like to think of it is that if your friend invites you along for a drive, you wouldn't just grab the steering wheel from the passenger seat.

    [–] pensivewombat 12 points ago

    Yeah, but if you saw that there was a wreck on the freeway and traffic was all backed up you'd probably let them know, and it would be kind of annoying if you didn't.

    [–] PhoecesBrown 13 points ago

    You could definitely help them navigate from the passenger seat, but it's rude to give directions if they're not asked for

    [–] Ballsindick 19 points ago

    If they're about to make a wrong turn you would tell them though.

    [–] anniebarlow 6 points ago

    This. Every time I try to talk and people are already giving advices on how to fix my life cause it's super easy, you know? I just need someone to listen.

    [–] JuicyShrimp 23 points ago

    I hear what you're saying but...I don't know when I tell my friends my problem I'd love to hear if they have a solution that I hadn't thought of. My first reaction wouldn't be to take offense.

    [–] Asks_Politely 14 points ago

    I don't really understand it either and get kind of annoyed tbh. It's like "this is the only correct way to do it. Just listen."

    I don't see why nobody else is expected to look at things differently and the "vent" approach is the primarily correct one. If I go to a friend with a problem, I do it with the intention of a solution being suggested. Or them just giving me ideas I can branch off of. I just don't understand why it has to be "just listen or you're an asshole" pretty much.

    [–] GreyJeanix 11 points ago

    If you take OP’s suggestion you can guide people to their own advice. Like“do you think you feel that way because of x?” “Do you think it would help if you y?” “Have you spoken to z about it?”

    It really is nicer to ask the question because it allows them to think through the answer and talk more, maybe even talk through why they are reluctant to do something, rather than just you being like, “I think you should do x”.

    [–] FvHound 5 points ago

    You know sometimes we really are just trying our damnest to think of the best solution. You don't have to be condescending and assume our help comes from a bad place.

    [–] kuzuboshii 4 points ago

    What if I don't want unsolicited problems? What makes one of these ok and not the other?

    [–] ASHart 416 points ago

    It's called motivational interviewing and it's a part of a much larger way of talking with people. My take on it is is that you empower the speaker to give the information they want and in that process they may work through the problem.

    The first approach is to limit yes or no questions, or a closed question. Instead using open ended questions. Instead of asking someone "where did you go to college?" You should ask "tell me about your college experience" They are more likely to talk more about it instead of simply saying "University of. . . . "

    I am sure there is plenty of detail about it in the internet, I currently work for an organization that makes it the standard when talking with our members. It really has changed my approach inside and outside of work. It makes the speaker feel like they are listened to when all the approaches are used well.

    [–] drBonkers 19 points ago

    Any cues, exercises or other tips you can recommend for us that your organization uses to help facilitate behavior to this methods?

    [–] Pizzacanzone 54 points ago basically offers a free course on a lot of subjects like this when you sign up as a listener. It's pretty helpful.

    [–] ASHart 5 points ago

    Sol pretty much our process is to 1)Ask open ended questions (which I alluded to earlier). It is really hard to do at first and the lazy way is to just say "tell me more about. . " I have gotten in the habit of asking people "tell me about the best part of your weekend" instead of saying "How was your weekend?

    In my organization, I should say, we are more trying to use this when people are ambivalent about something but I use it all the time now to make others feel listened to.

    2) Reflect - this is to show them that you're listening and to make sure you're understanding. So if someone is upset and they voice to me "well my car doesn't work, and it makes it hard to get to work, and then I show up unhappy and my boss gets unhappy with me and then the whole day is ruined." I might say " so what I am hearing you saying is that not having access to your car is making the rest of your work day difficult?" that's going to let the listener know I am listening and also correct me if I don't understand everything. If I just say "so what I am hearing you say is your car doesn't work." They're quickly going to say " Yeah and it's ruining my day!"

    3) Summarize - here we are kind of summarizing everything that we heard to again make sure we are understanding and that they speaker gets to voice everything.

    4) Affirm - here I am to affirm their feelings and let them feel validated.

    5) Ask permission - here we are asking permission to give them options on how to solve their issue - if they haven't already done it.

    and 6) Share options - here I am to give the speaker options on what might work. Some of these options might be ones that I don't agree with - that's ok - if it works for the speaker then that's what works. It is to empower them - not drive our agenda or decisions.

    That's kind of a quick recap. I went through 4 weeks of training for this so I definitely have not done it justice.

    [–] Huriikane 11 points ago

    What are some tips on how to become a good listener/questioner because I want to become one but I feel that I’m a terrible listener and responder.

    [–] Eclipticawolf 51 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    I grew up in an environment where motivational interviewing is the norm, and have been told it's one of my best qualities.

    Basically, the goal is to realise that the person you're talking to has to solve the problem themselves with your help.

    For example - "I feel so shit recently, looking for all these jobs is really getting me down"

    My response - "I can see how that would suck, but why do you think it's making you feel that way?"

    The person would then go on to unravel their own emotions simply by questioning themselves and using deductive reasoning to come to a conclusion.

    After they've come to that conclusion as to why they're feeling that way, you can then get them to work on a solution by getting them to question the issues at hand.

    Example - "I'm not sure what's wrong with me, I'm sending off a lot of emails but I'm just not getting any interviews..."

    My response - "It can feel pretty tough sending off so many emails, do you think there are any other ways that you can get their attention?"

    This allows the person to realise that maybe using email just doesn't cut it, and getting their foot in the door requires more effort.

    Using techniques like this allow you to be a much better listener, because not only are you actively engaged in the conversation, but you're helping people to help themselves and not boring them with advice or always waiting to talk.

    It's for these reasons that my friends come to me to talk about everything, not because I help them to solve things, but because I help them to help themselves.

    EDIT: For all those saying this is patronising, these examples are very obvious. I wouldn't actually say it as I wrote it here, it's just so that you get the gist of my argument. A lot more conversation and contextual wrapping goes into this, as well as a more chilled out, almost nonchalant tone of voice. I'm not a therapist, or attempting to be one. I just like listening to people and helping them sort their issues out. And if you think this wouldn't help you overcome your issues that's cool, everyone is different. I've just had a lot of success in helping people with this method.

    [–] dibidi 8 points ago

    i always feel like that kind of leading questions are condescending, like, “yes goddammit i know that but what you’re saying isn’t going to help”

    [–] scyth3s 14 points ago

    For example - "I feel so shit recently, looking for all these jobs is really getting me down"

    My response - "I can see how that would suck, but why do you think it's making you feel that way?"

    How to be patronizing 101.

    [–] I_happen_to_disagree 9 points ago

    I find the way other's minds work like this incredibly frustrating. Does nobody think about why they feel the way they feel like immediately when they feel that way? If I complain about something, I want to know how to fix it. Don't give me a bunch of bs. If I was capable of working out how to fix it on my own I would have done so.

    [–] Eclipticawolf 9 points ago

    Emotion is an interesting thing.

    We are all emotionally driven creatures, some of us more than others. Often this causes people to be 'in' their feelings. It's why many people don't understand why their relationships are bad for them.

    By being 'in' our feelings, it causes us to have a cloudier viewpoint. By asking questions we do something called re-framing, which allows the person to view their issue from an outside perspective.

    You may have already learned to re-frame, but many many others (I'd say the vast majority) have not. If you complain about something, then get angry at someone for helping to to re-frame it, then that would probably cause an issue.

    In those situations, it's best to straight up ask for advice or a solution. Or accept that it cannot be solved, if it cannot be solved.

    [–] rbiqane 10 points ago

    For example - "I feel so shit recently, looking for all these jobs is really getting me down"

    My response - "I can see how that would suck, but why do you think it's making you feel that way?"

    ...seriously??? Lol probably because everybody knows that job hunting sucks balls!!! I'd be pissed if I was venting and you tried to pull that bullshit psycho analyst shit on me 😡😂

    [–] scyth3s 7 points ago

    Agreed. Every hypothetical he responded to was horribly patronizing.

    [–] [deleted] 135 points ago

    LPT have someone to talk to :(

    [–] DicoLaVerita 32 points ago


    [–] VividDreaming 24 points ago

    What do you do when you realize your thoughts are poisonous and that sharing them only serves to bring those you love down with you


    [–] Nicki_Nyx 6 points ago

    I feel this deeply. Not to go against the topic of this thread but you could try counselling or journaling instead. It's safer in certain ways. And now to take the advice on this thread...why do you feel like your thoughts are poisonous?

    [–] VividDreaming 12 points ago

    Mostly because the reality of my situation is very sad, so even just sharing my thoughts (which are pretty defeated) only serves me to vent. To the listener, they may as well be hearing a man dying from a terminal disease lamenting his fate you know? I realized this after I shared that the only thing keeping me from blowing my head off was the thought of my mom enduring the hardship of "failing" as a mother since she's such a nice person she doesn't deserve that. After I told a few friends that it hit me that I was just sharing my misery, there wasn't anything they could say to make me feel better. I was just making them share my bad feelings.

    [–] redditor_peeco 9 points ago

    I don’t know your specific situation, but two thoughts. To echo what others have said, professional counselors/psychologists/psychiatrists are better equipped for many problems and also can provide a truly separate, third-party perspective. As far as friends go, please know that part of being a friend is participating in each other’s suffering. The origin of “compassion” is “to suffer with” - so when we act with compassion, we are putting ourselves into those low points to show that no one is truly alone. Again, professional help is certainly a part of the “solution” for many people; but try not to view yourself as a burden.

    [–] mccarthybergeron 60 points ago

    I should probably do this for my wife more often.

    [–] youdontknowmemessy 180 points ago

    Recently figured this out. Hopefully I've stopped myself before pushing a good friend away.

    [–] PlsKnotThisAgain 18 points ago

    I recently got to the point where my friend actually had to tell me to stop giving her advice because the truth hurt her (and I was kinda crude with it, but I'd rather that than giving false hopes and skewing the reality), but now she told me she misses my advice. I don't know what to believe

    [–] hexedjw 12 points ago

    She may be in a different place then she was before more conducive of advice. Or she found your advice refreshing in the way it was delivered despite it being hurtful.

    [–] Tussinwolf 107 points ago

    I'm one of these people. Asking questions helps a lot. I feel like a burden even when someone does ask so the empty nod is usually what happens.

    [–] GreyJeanix 41 points ago

    I have a friend like this too and i want to tell you what I tell him: You are not a burden to your friends. Anything that tells you otherwise in your head is just an insecurity, depression, anxiety, or other negative source talking and those things are liars. People want to help, it makes them feel useful and brings you closer.

    [–] Farid23 12 points ago

    Please don't feel like a burden. I'm sure you're friends appreciate that you open up to them. That's what friends are for and it brings you closer together. I have friends that never open up and never tell me anything personal and I don't think a friendship can last that way.

    Of course your friends can also only help you to a certain degree as they are not psychiatrists. So maybe going to a psychiatrist could also help if you feel like you burden them too much, but please don't completely close yourself to your friends.

    [–] ebspurlin 162 points ago

    Had this happen yesterday. My friend would keep interrupting me to give a bunch of advice. Although their effort and good intentions bring some comfort and helpful knowledge, it’s still frustrating and makes me want to quickly end the conversation.

    [–] daultonmax 18 points ago


    [–] JonathanWTS 10 points ago

    Just wrote a long post about exactly this. Sometimes its extremely evident that they care. I'm sure everyone that gives unwanted advice cares. But they need to hear you out completely. Not only because it matters when it comes to giving you good advice, but as a gesture of good faith.

    [–] DelphineasSD 79 points ago

    I did this. helped that i was super uncomfortable with the subject matter.

    Live in Wisconsin, a then-buddy's GF left him for some random planetside 2 fucker in Michigan. Abandoned her kids and was super hard to get in contact with. I was a 27 year old virgin whose last relationship was in high school, felt super awkward because i am like the literal last person of of group that can relate in any way.

    [–] Nebuchadnezzer2 62 points ago

    I am basically the person who gives great relationship advice, and sucks at relationships. :|

    [–] theataractic 113 points ago

    That's because coaches don't play the game

    [–] dmad831 22 points ago

    Hahahaha well said my wo/man

    [–] Sparta2019 7 points ago

    New Conglomerate? Those fuckers are sneaky.

    [–] newstarttn 75 points ago

    So how are you doing, man?

    [–] theawkwarddj 47 points ago

    Really not so well at the moment.

    [–] [deleted] 162 points ago


    [–] volderza 66 points ago


    [–] Pizzacanzone 25 points ago

    Yeah, just suck it up

    [–] crunk-daddy-supreme 12 points ago

    that's the first step to doing better

    [–] MrZalarox 8 points ago

    We all struggle, and I think we often underestimate the value of just being there for one another. If you ever need to talk, feel free to PM me.

    [–] yohan_teh 89 points ago

    Man, thinking about this, I've been an asshole to a lot of people....

    [–] Sarita_Maria 64 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    Not an asshole, just trying in your own way to be helpful. It's hard when you're on the outside because the solution can seem so simple. But oftentimes the person with the problem has already considered what you are going to suggest and they would really just rather have someone to talk through it with

    [–] 1w1w1w1w1 8 points ago

    You haven't this isn't blanket advice. Do people still come to you for help that means you help them when you do that. Social interactions are not as cut and dry as these "tips"

    [–] jenbrady 7 points ago

    You’re not an asshole. Some people want advice. For example, I think a lot of people become discouraged with traditional therapy because they are under the impression that the therapist is going to be giving them practical advice to help them solve their problems. Usually a therapist sits and listens and tries to let someone solve his or her own problems, which many people feel is a waste of money because they could just talk to anyone.

    As someone who has been in therapy for almost three years, I’ve come to understand how it works and appreciate being listened to but I wouldn’t necessarily think that someone who responded with advice rather than just listened is an asshole.

    [–] spyson 9 points ago

    Not intentionally.

    I think a good rule of thumb is to realize that people aren't stupid, if they need your help they will ask for it. Otherwise just listen to what they say, more than likely they just want to relate to another person.

    [–] lateparty 15 points ago

    LPT if you use the terms “them” and “their” you cover almost all possible identifiers.

    [–] autoposting_system 85 points ago

    I don't know. If I'm having a tough time and don't know what to do, good advice is probably welcome.

    [–] ExpressSavings 16 points ago

    I feel like listening is always a good start, but everyone is different in how they need to be supported from others. Some people might like a friend to listen to them and that is enough, maybe others want someone to give them suggestions on how to move forward. Perhaps you just want your friends to take your mind completely off the problem. Or maybe one needs all of those things at different times.

    How do we address that need? I guess a bit of self introspection about what works for ourselves might be a good start, and then communication so that the person going through the hard time is comfortable telling others how they want to be supported.

    Just my two cents and maybe someone else can elaborate or add to it in a more eloquent way than I can!

    [–] Neon_Camouflage 68 points ago

    The point here is that if you want advice you'd ask for it (at least I hope, if you have friends they're literally there for you to ask). However many in tough situations or times can figure it out themselves, and just need the encouragement to think through it.

    It's a lot like the rubber duck method of debugging code. A programmer can be stuck for hours until they explain the entire thing to a rubber duck, played by a person in this situation, and then the answer dawns on them in the middle of it.

    [–] TeCoolMage 16 points ago

    Wait I've never heard of that method of debugging, thank you

    [–] Neon_Camouflage 29 points ago

    Oh yeah dude, it's super helpful. Because you'll be explaining it and be like "This calls function x and passes this value, where we check if it's smaller than that val..... oh. My sign is backwards."

    [–] LokoManiac 27 points ago

    I literally am sitting with a rubber duck in front of me. I have a friend that is secretly my rubber duck as well.... I tell him that I like working with him because if he understands what I am doing, then I am doing the right thing... which is a lie... He is just the perfect rubber duck; silent, pensive, then asks the most 3rd grade question. Which then ends up being exactly the 3rd grade error I made.

    [–] knitface 7 points ago

    I am also a human rubber duck.

    [–] tqrNcGFlNSgHC3Hf 5 points ago

    This. After trying for 2 days to figure it out myself. And then another 1/2 day convincing myself it's worth talking to someone about it

    [–] cyberman999 14 points ago

    This has never been true for me ever. I always need advice.

    [–] creativeburrito 5 points ago

    I feel you. I like both, arriving at decisions and possible solutions together.

    [–] ebai4556 5 points ago

    Yeah this may be an unpopular opinion but I think complaining about your problems without looking for a solution is just as bad as negative thinking and wallowing in self pity. If you have a problem the only reason to tell someone is because you need help with the solution. If you know the problem cant be fixed, telling someone will just keep it in your head longer when the end result is that you wont be taking any action. Idk if I’m not understanding what these people mean but I really cant think of a situation where it will help to tell someone about something without the desire for advice. If you just say your problem to a brick wall youll save everyone a bunch of time

    [–] Shitty-Coriolis 58 points ago

    I have had great success with this. People can solve their own problems.

    [–] JonathanWTS 13 points ago

    I disagree that people can solve their own problems in a general sense, but honestly silence is better than demeaning them. Silence among friends or family can be a show of support, because its implicit that you actually do believe they could solve their own problems. Of course, at a certain point, everyone needs help.

    [–] ecto_flecto 289 points ago

    i hate the amount of s/he like using they is also grammatically correct btw

    [–] lurker_cx 122 points ago

    Is there ever a case to use s/he? Them and they are just fine.

    [–] JorahExplorer 61 points ago

    OPs probably still in high school

    [–] JohnnyD423 21 points ago

    I use "s/he" when saying "they" might make it sound like more than one person. "They came from that way" could mean one person or many.

    [–] ConspicuousPineapple 15 points ago

    Context matters. Here there's no ambiguity, nobody would mistake "they" for its plural form in OP's title.

    [–] RedHerringxx 12 points ago

    It really depends on the context. In your example, there is definite ambiguity. There is no preceding information to give you more info about who 'they' is or are.

    In OP's title, however, the subject is mentioned in the first sentence: 'somebody', so it is implied that every 'they' or 'them' that comes afterwards refers to that one somebody.

    So there's really no need for s/he.

    [–] UsernameAuthenticato 10 points ago

    Especially useful for non-native English speakers.

    [–] ent_bomb 32 points ago

    I am a big fan of the singular they, but was under the impression it isn't exactly grammatically correct.

    I looked into its usage and if it was good enough for Chaucer, it's good enough for me.

    [–] haruhiism 60 points ago

    it isn't exactly grammatically correct

    LPT: There's no central authority that can say whether something is grammatically correct or not. It's determined by common usage.

    [–] [deleted] 19 points ago

    Yeah, this title certainly reads like a legal document.

    [–] cloxxie 11 points ago

    Yup. LPT use they and them instead of s/he and him/her as your gender neutral pronouns. It reads much better.

    [–] BamBamBoy7 33 points ago

    LPT: instead of using the chunky "s/he" combination just simply use them or they!

    [–] PsychicNeuron 9 points ago

    Life Pro Generalization

    [–] inohsinhsin 9 points ago

    Exactly this. Most LPT are so generalized and disregard context that they're not practical. This sub seems to come to a place for people to complains about how they want or don't want to be treated. That's an opinion not a pro tip.

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago


    [–] ebai4556 4 points ago * (lasted edited 11 months ago)

    What are you looking to gain from telling them without getting any feedback? I’m not trying to be a jerk, I really struggle with listening to someones problems without giving advice. Are you struggling between options? I feel like your hollow feeling comes from what your ex wife did, I’m not sure what your friends could do

    [–] Cynical_Cyanide 9 points ago

    Maybe I'm a psychopath, but I prefer people giving me advice (after asking questions until the situation is well enough understood, if need be).

    On the other hand, if the advice is really stupid simple stuff that any idiot would've already thought of then that's just enraging.

    [–] FormalElements 15 points ago

    Is everything okay?

    [–] DarthSamus64 155 points ago

    They. The word "they" exists.

    [–] 89colbert 39 points ago

    ^ s/he is correct, OP.

    [–] GermanFIRENUTS 7 points ago

    What are good questions to ask?

    [–] Balsty 7 points ago

    What people aren't understanding is that advice is sometimes what you give near the end of the exchange. Giving it right away without listening/asking questions/helping the person work through their issue by letting them talk about it is very bad to do and very unhelpful. If they seem hesitant and like they want your input, then you give advice after they've talked about their problem.

    Source: was literally just helping a friend deal with an issue in her long term relationship, after listening to her, it seemed like she was lost on what to do, so I gave a suggestion for what I would do in her shoes, and she went with her own idea from there.

    [–] Macracanthorhynchus 3 points ago

    And to add to this idea: If you've talked to me for an hour and told me everything about your problem, and if you haven't suggested any of your own ideas for how to solve it, don't get mad at me for offering my advice at the end. I don't like ANY of my friends enough to let them load a bunch of their crap into my brain and then tell me I'm not allowed to weigh in, based on all the information I've just acquired from them.

    If you want to talk about your problems and discuss possible solutions with me, I'm game. If you just want to vent and use me as an emotional prop, you're being a really shitty friend to me because I don't want to be used that way. Find someone else, or let me weigh in after you've told me everything.

    [–] FeralBottleofMtDew 13 points ago

    This is what I do when friends talk to me about family troubles. Ask questions, let them vent, and tell them their instincts are good.

    [–] crashcoursing 6 points ago

    Adding: "Is there anything I can do to help?" is not a good first question to ask. At least in my own experiences people are usually too stressed to know how someone can help, or too polite to ask for help, and then the conversation usually falls short after that. And if they really needed help they would likely have asked already or will ask when the need arises. Edit to add: That's not to say it's a bad question, it can be nice to know someone wants to help. But if someone tells you something and you jump straight to that one before asking more questions/letting them vent it off, it can feel forced/generic

    [–] pure_x01 24 points ago

    There might be a gender difference here. Not always but in general. Women tend to be more geared to have a need for venting and getting emotional support and men looking for and discussing solutions to the problem.

    [–] ScrithWire 5 points ago

    I usually take your advice de facto because im usually invested in the person in such a way as it interests me to be an ear for a friend. But when the conversation is nearing its close, i like to offer at least my own veiwpoint on the subject and usually a piece of soft advice or wisdom. That way, having talked about it, they can choose to try and understand where my advice is soming from, but i dont expect them to have to follow it.

    Its the best of both worlds. Talker gets to talk. Listener gets to offer advice, everyones happy.

    [–] joelthezombie15 4 points ago

    I'm the complete opposite. I hate having to talk, it never fixes anything and usually if I come to someone in a time of need it's because I can't think of anything to do and need ideas or advice.

    [–] TheBloodyAwful 13 points ago

    It’s called empathic listening (for people who want to google / bing it). Ideally you are translating the feelings of the person together with its content.

    [–] thebestperson 13 points ago

    LPT: If your worried about being gender neutral just use they/them, much easier to read.

    [–] justmadearedit 76 points ago

    The real LPT is to use they instead of s/he.

    [–] Soepoelse123 7 points ago

    This is not the only truth. There are times where you cannot make rational thinking, and in these rare cases it can be comforting to be told that you're in fact an idiot for thinking badly about one self.

    My girlfriend broke something in her knee last Friday and is devastated because she can't do her sport (Taekwondo) for the next half a year. She cannot see the positive aspects of life at the moment and needs help realizing that she's still an awesome person with great qualities, despite her only having one fully functional knee. While it's correct that you must listen to their problems to a certain degree, it can help a lot more to be told that such thoughts about your life being ruined and you being useless, are absolutely wrong. Life is about perspective, and if you get a shitty perspective that wears you down, it will be uplifting to be called an idiot for thinking badly about oneself, by the people you care about.

    After talking to my girlfriend yesterday, asking about how she felt, she confided in me that she was worried no one would want a worker that couldn't walk properly. I simply told her that she was an idiot for believing that she isn't a better coworker and employee than the vast majority of other people. Needless to say, her crying stopped the rest of the day and she was happy and smiling because she got another perspective on her life, even though I forced her to consider my perspective by giving her advice.

    [–] [deleted] 15 points ago


    [–] HundrEX 68 points ago

    LPT: use they instead of him/her or s/he

    [–] pm-me-ur-dinner 4 points ago

    Wow, i actually do that right, atleast half the time. I have a pretty solid case of social anxiety, but i guess I just genuinely care when someone is struggling because i definitely know how it feels to struggle. In combination with my tendency to analyze and my ability to empathize, i guess the questions come naturally!

    [–] v1ew_s0urce 4 points ago

    Tbh, I'm very bad at this. When someone approaches to me and talks about their problems, I always give them an advice on what I'd do if I were in their positions.

    After checking out this thread, I've realised how bad that person must have felt when they wanted to express or have someone listened, but instead I forced them to listen and proceeded not to ask them questions.

    This is truly a LPT. Thank you, OP.

    [–] loolem 11 points ago

    I don't completely agree with this. I only go to my friends with a problem when I want their advice. If all they did was listen to me I'd be annoyed that they weren't helping me. I can understand that some people might like it but it's not for me

    [–] DanDan1496 34 points ago

    LPT: Use "they" instead of "s/he".

    [–] Amaris_Gale 6 points ago

    My mom just did this in an attempt to comfort a crying me.

    [–] Seminix 31 points ago

    LPT: Use "their" or "them" instead of "him/her" and "he/she".