If someone specifically asks you for your help that’s fine. But if someone is simply sharing a problem or difficulty with you it doesn’t mean they are asking you to fix it. This can be difficult for many people to grasp, particularly if you’re really into helping people like I am. You might think that the very fact they’re telling you about it means they want you to fix it, but that’s simply not true.
In his book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…” author Richard Carlston puts it this way: “If someone throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it.” Be okay with not trying to fix things. Sometimes people tell you something simply because they need to share it with someone, they need someone to listen. You can listen, and acknowledge what they’re saying without trying to fix it.
You might even ask them what they want you to do “Do you want me to simply listen or are you asking for my help?”
You can waste a lot of energy trying to fix someone for something else when it’s not really necessary. You can also end up pushing away the very people you’re trying to help because all they wanted was for you to listen.
Remember – next time you don’t necessarily have to catch the ball.