We’re not gonna force each other to reject unsolicited offers, explain how we’ve already tried that or explain painful details to justify why our challenges are not so easily solved as an aunt’s-friend’s-dentist who had a similar problem.
If we can’t handle our own reactions, we may try to solve each others’ problems with advice, information, or volunteering unwanted services. Even if the intent is kind, unsolicited advice creates a challenge for unwelcome emotional labor. When we ‘offering’ advice, we can come off as dismissive, or force folks who are already having a hard time to defend themselves and their choices.
So we’ll connect by listening to and respecting each other’s lived experiences. We can share our own similar experiences and emotions. And we can do this without attempting to adjust someone’s experience or feelings about their own obstacles.
It’s okay to ask ‘are you looking for advice or resources?‘ and problem-solve with consent. However, it’s not our role to jump in and to fix, rescue, or save each other.
It’s our responsibility to show up, listen, and make space so our friends can talk about hard things without challenging them about it.