Do you want comfort or solutions?

Such a small phrase, yet omnipowerful in most kinds of relationships.

In Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray shares that men always want to fix something. We come out of our man cave, see an issue that is wrong and want to address it right away.

That sounds pragmatic, until you try to apply it universally across the board. 

Some people do not want solutions at all. They just need someone to listen to them.

So many arguments can be easily avoided with this single question asked at just the right moment.

When a spouse, child, friend, parent, colleague or employer comes to you with something that feels like they are frustrated, upset, sad, disappointed, irritated, or angry about something, trying to ask this simple question will potentially decrease the amount of wasted conversation which can potentially lead to arguments by just understanding what is truly being conveyed.

People like to bitch about things. I am most certainly one of them. (Both the one bitching, as well as the one being bitched about.) And I am guessing that you are as well. If you walk on water and are above such human traits, then I cast no particular aspersion towards you, just trying to make a point… (You can bitch about me and this musing to someone later if you so desire.)

The “bitching” takes many forms, from complaining about huge things over which we have zero control personally, to complaints about things that are well within our control to fix and improve. 

The secret to a much more tranquil relationship with others is to find a gentle way of inquiring what they are seeking from you in their choice to discuss such topics. If you find a way to ask this with kindness so that they understand that you are not being smarmy or making fun of what they are talking about, then your discussion with them will be considerably more productive.

I have noticed that when my son or spouse has come to me with issues/grievances about things in their world, I am always going straight into discussions about how to solve the problem. I would prognosticate that at least half of the time, that is not what they wanted from me at all! They just wanted me to listen. Not fix.

If I am programmed to always find the solution and resolve it promptly (as producers do by trade) it is counterintuitive  to me to shut up and just listen. I had to develop that skill and still find myself vacillating at the moment that such a topic is broached by another party when we are speaking. I have had to forcibly retrain myself to just listen for awhile, not blurt out (what I believe) is the obvious solution. When I feel like the rush of emotion behind their discussion has run a full course, I more gently inquire… I have some ideas that might help you with this, would they be of interest?

So simple, yet it has taken me decades to grasp this and to genuinely employ it above my own personal programming.

If this helps you, I am pleased to have shared it. If it does not help you and you have a grievance about it that you wish to share with me, I have a solution for that too!!!! (But I will not share it, unless asked).

Happy Saturday!

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share
Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!