Many people have a hard time tolerating feelings. Not just their own, but those of their friends and loved ones. Especially the “negative” ones (fear, sadness, guilt).
Notice if someone in your circle frequently sugarcoats their bad news. Or that they rush to solve issues instead of just listening and agreeing that it sucks.
This might be a sign that they feel uncomfortable with discomfort.
We need to feel discomfort first, for it to go away. Otherwise we’re putting a band-aid on something that will keep coming up. This doesn’t mean you have to dwell on it for days or weeks. In fact, you’ll be surprised at how even a 20-minute conversation with someone who is listening can ease your pain.
If you want to be a good friend, let the person talk about what’s bothering them. Especially if they’re hesitant. (If you’re feeling nervous about it, chances are they feel the same way.) Some questions you can ask are:
“What’s the worst part about this?”
“How can I support you?”
“What are you feeling right now?”
“Have you felt this way before?”
These questions allow your friend to vent, but also hopefully make some meaning out of the situation, which will make it less impactful on their mental health.
For more advice on when to check on your friends, you can read this article by Alli Hoff Kosik at Brit + Co that I was able to contribute to.
If you’re interested in how therapy can help you make meaning of the tough situations you’re going through, call me at (562) 704-4736, or click below to send me a message. Prospect Therapy welcomes individuals and couples of all genders and orientations in Long Beach, Seal Beach, and surrounding areas.