Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 7, 2018

How Loving Advice Turns Into a Weapon That Kills Relationships

How Loving Advice Turns Into a Weapon That Kills Relationships

“Don’t be upset.” “You shouldn’t worry so much.”

All of these statements are seemingly harmless and are meant to be helpful. But unfortunately, they are not either of those things. In fact, these statements could be construed as dismissive or insensitive. When your partner is already experiencing a period of doubt, the lack of support from you could lead them to even question your feelings for them.

Sharing a problem is sharing a piece of mind

When a person gets more intimate with someone, they are more willing to share their inner thoughts with them. They won’t just share how they feel with anyone because it’s only this “someone” that they can trust.

So when your partner is sharing their issues with you, they are making themselves vulnerable. When they share things like “I’ve had a tough day at work, my boss kept assigning me tasks even though I already had a lot on my plate,” or “I tried to help our neighbor out for her housework because she’s sick, and now I’m just exhausted,”  they’re not looking for a solution. They just want to vent to someone who will listen and try to understand.

Advertising

    Wanting to fix a problem is natural

    Instinctively, when someone shares with you about their bad day, it’s human nature to want to help out, especially someone that you hold near and dear. By offering help and support, you are by no means intending to be offensive.

    You may say things like “you shouldn’t worry so much,” or “from now on I will handle it,” or “but you shouldn’t feel that way, you should just…”

    Advertising

      But sadness doesn’t need to be fixed

      This sort of problem does not require a solution on your part. They’re not asking you for one. And saying things like, “don’t worry about it,” is rude and dismissive. This is offering unsolicited advice when your opinion was never asked for to begin with.

      Your well intended advice could make them feel belittled, which will make them feel even worse because they are not receiving the support they need. This misleads them to think that you don’t care about their feelings, and you don’t try to understand them.

      Think about your partners issues like metaphorical houseplant. Plants need to be watered. But they don’t need water all of the time. Trying to be helpful because you think you know what it needs, you over-water the plant. You think you’re doing a good thing, but the plant doesn’t actually need more water.

      Advertising

        The disclosure of their problem was not an invitation for you to try to solve them. It needs to be expressed and processed.

        Sometimes plants need water, but at other times they just need some sun. Sometimes people need advice, but at other times all that they really need is for you to listen and show that you are trying to understand. So instead of “over-watering your plant”, place it under the sun to give it the nourishment it needs.

          Purge the urge, be the rock

          When you are someone’s rock, you offer support simply just by being there. The rock doesn’t offer advice. The rock offers a place to rest until they are strong enough to continue on.

          Advertising

          If there is no invitation to give advice, don’t. Chances are your partner doesn’t actually want it. If they did, they would have asked for it. Especially if your “helpful” advice entails what they should or shouldn’t do, how they should or shouldn’t feel.

          Sometimes things that you say with good intentions can be received negatively, ultimately making things worse. There are a few things that you can do to demonstrate active listening and to just simply be there for your partner.

          • Give reassurance through body language. Just listen. Keep eye contact and nod reassuringly as they are stating their points. This shows that you are intently listening, which is all that they really want.
          • Validate their feelings. Instead of saying, “I know exactly how you feel, it’s hard.” Say, “I can never understand how you feel, but I can see that it’s very hard for you.” This way you are validating their feelings without being belittling or condescending.
          • Show your consideration. Process everything that they have said to you and reiterate it in a way that shows understanding. Instead of saying, “you are under a lot of stress,” say,” you have a lot on your plate. The last thing you need it even more. I can see how this is very stressful for you.”

          Lend an ear. Listen. Let them process through their issues by talking through it. Just simply letting it out might make them feel better.

          More by this author

          Anna Chui

          Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

          7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck 53 Relationship Questions That Will Make Your Love Life Better 27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down 35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

          Trending in Social Animal

          1 Understand Your Love Style & Learn to Love: Co Dependent Relationship 2 Coparenting 101: 17 Helpful Strategies for Divorced Parents 3 These Critical Crisis Management Tips Will Make You a Better Friend 4 The Benefits of Human Touch to Strengthen Your Relationship 5 All You Need to Know About Dealing with Conflict in INTJ Relationships

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on September 17, 2018

          7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

          7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

          Relationships are complicated and when you’re unhappy, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing it and what needs to change.

          Sometimes it’s as easy as opening up to your partner about your problems, while other times it may be necessary to switch partners or roll solo to get your mind straight.

          When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to tell if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unhappy in general (in which case, a relationship may be just the cure you need).

          Here’re signs of an unhappy relationship that is possibly making you feel stuck:

          1. You’re depressed about your home life.

          No matter what you do in life, you’re going to have good and bad days. Your relationship is no different.

          However, no matter what you’re going through at home, you have to feel comfortable in your own home.

          If you constantly dread going home because your significant other is there, there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something you already know about, everyone has an argument or just needs some alone time.

          Advertising

          When that yearning to be alone becomes an insatiable obsession over the course of months and years, it’s time to realize you’re not the exception to the rule.

          You’re unhappy in your relationship, and you need to take a look in the mirror and do whatever it takes to make yourself smile.

          2. You aren’t comfortable being yourself.

          Remember all those things you discovered about yourself when you first got together? The way your partner made you feel when you met that made you fall in love with him or her in the first place.

          If they don’t make you feel that way anymore, it’s not the end of the world. If your partner makes you uncomfortable about being you, then her or she is only dragging you down. It’s up to you to decide how to handle that.

          You need to be comfortable with who you are. This means being comfortable in your skin and with the way you walk, talk, look, breath, move, and all the other things that make you uniquely you.

          If the person who supposedly loves you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, know that you can do better. They’re not even one in a billion.

          3. You can’t stop snooping.

          Mutual trust is necessary in any relationship. The only way to get that trust is with respect.

          Advertising

          I can find you anywhere online, no matter how private and secure you think you are. The odds of you having a password I can’t crack are slim. If we’ve met in person, I could install a remote key logger on your device without even touching it.

          Finding your information online hardly takes a clandestine organization. Any idiot with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can cyberstalk you. I’m just the only idiot in the village admitting it.

          So now that we know everyone snoops, it’s time to address your personal habits. Governments snoop because they don’t trust us. If you’re snooping on your partner, it’s because you don’t trust them.

          It’s ok to have doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to look into anything that looks weird, but keep in mind that data collection is only half of an investigation.

          If you find yourself constantly snooping and questioning everything, clearly there’s a trust issue and the relationship likely needs to end.

          4. You’re afraid of commitment.

          If you’ve been dating longer than a year and you aren’t engaged, it’s never going to happen.

          Commitment is important. People will come up with a million ways to describe why they can’t be committed.

          Advertising

          No matter who you are if you like it, you need to put a ring on it. Find an engagement ring, stick a gemstone in it and marry the person. If you’re not legally able to get married or you don’t believe in it for one reason or another, have a child (or adopt one, however you’re able to) or treat your partner’s family like your own. It’s a huge financial and mental commitment.

          If you’re not ready for one or the other after some time, don’t waste anymore of your precious life on the relationship.

          Your relationship should be something that propels you forward. If it’s not going anywhere, make it an open relationship and call it what it is—dating multiple people.

          5. You imagine a happier life without your partner.

          If all you’re doing is imagining a happier life without your partner, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship. You’re unhappy and you need to get out.

          Your partner should be included in your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a future with someone.

          Try to remember what you dreamed of before you got your heart broken by the realities of life, love and the pursuit of human success.

          Remember when you would crush on that cute kid in class? You would secretly imagine marrying him or her and going on an adventure—that’s the way life should be.

          Advertising

          If you’re not at least imagining adventures together, then why are you in that relationship?

          6. You resent, rather than love your partner.

          When a relationship starts to crumble, you begin to resent your partner for all the things you once loved about him or her.

          When you’ve reached this point, your partner has reached at least No. 2 on this list. From your partner’s perspective, your unhappiness with them is picked up as bashing them for being who they are.

          If you’re both unhappy in the relationship, it’s better if it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible.

          7. You chase past feelings.

          It’s okay to reminisce about the past, but if all you do is wish things were like they used to be, it’s a sign you’re not on the right path.

          You’re unhappy and, at the very least, you need to have an open dialogue about it. This isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship should end, but it definitely needs a spark.

          When you talk to your partner candidly about what it is you’re looking for, you never know how they’ll react. The risk alone is worth it, good or bad.

          Final thoughts

          If you’re feeling stuck in your current relationship, it’s time to reflect about it with your partner. Don’t ignore these signs of an unhappy relationship as they will slowly go worse and harm both you and your partner in long-term.

          Featured photo credit: josh peterson via unsplash.com

          Read Next