Word of caution to my male friends before you start reading further: “I need you to be a girlfriend right now” 🙂
Everyone has their own way of dealing with problems in their daily life. Personally, I find it much more beneficial to attack the problem together by listening, asking questions, not assuming, and made the decision based on the information we have at hand. I like to talk things out as a means to get my brain churning for a solution/ideas. If if it doesn’t work…while it may be frustrating we have to accept that we did the best we can so let’s regroup and try again. After all, neither of us knows everything…otherwise we wouldn’t be referred to as “humans”.
The problem is most likely rooted more in HOW the advice is given, not that it’s actually offered or not. People don’t necessarily want to be told what to do – it’s a common human trait to question obvious commands, however, when related in the context of an applicable anecdote the person in distress can still feel as if they are extrapolating information from the story to apply to their own life (thus feeling more in control of the own personal choices).
We, women, sometimes just want to vent. Maybe getting the problem of our chest and confiding in someone we trust is more important than trying to find a solution. I think one of the hardest thing for people to understand is that it’s essentially an emotion vs logic conflict issue. The ‘logical’ party can’t understand why, even with the problem fixed (or unfixable) or the solution within reach, that the other party is feeling ’emotional’. Emotional party should be able to exchange advice, ideas, and overall conversation freely without feeling offended, but then again, the logical party should also know each other well enough to understand HOW each person best receives said advisement.
I think it’s always important to emphasize that some emotions cannot be “logic-ked” away (at least not instantly) and simply cannot be helped at times probably because of the voice in our head which might be saying “I know this is the answer, I just don’t look forward to doing it,” or “What you are saying makes sense, but I still feel upset by the situation even occurring”.
But sometimes people have no real understanding of what your situation is and yet feel compelled to burden you with guidance that is irrelevant, unhelpful, and sometimes insulting (Don’t you think I thought of that?). First make sure whether the emotional party is asking (or not asking) for it. Do I really want us to solve the problem together (which means, yes, I will have to listen and be willing to ask questions), do I want to always be the “problem solver”, or would I rather get someone else to solve the problem so I don’t have to be responsible if it doesn’t work…the other person is? And what about the solution…is our expectation that it has to be perfect or am I willing to accept that mistakes can be made and what is more important is to learn from it and try again.
At time, it is a challenge to be a good listener. I’ve had friends (more often than not, women) who go on and on about the same stuff with seemingly little insight and no growth. In some cases, I’ve ended friendships because it was too draining. But good friends owe each other the duty of attention. Most people have continuing life issues that will never be completely resolved.
Therefore, rants are just expressions of frustration about whatever, you just want to be understood. Being offered advice is an implication that what you’re doing or did is wrong and… to be broadly told you’re wrong when all you’re trying to do is be understood, and you’re already clearly frustrated, can be more frustrating than the original problem.
We, women, have a brain (I think everyone have had this revelation) and just need someone to bounce thoughts off. Men do it as well but theycall it “Brainstorming”. When woman want to talk – Listen! (Don’t talk, except to ask for clarification) When they ask a question, answer it. It’s not rocket science guys.