It’s not uncommon for your partner or close friend to confide in your that they are having a rough day. How you respond can have a huge impact on both of you, be consciously or subconsciously.
Fundamentally, there are two ways to respond: securely or insecurely.
The insecure response if the most common. “What do you mean? What’s wrong? What happened? Can I do anything to help?” This may seem like a caring response on the surface, but ultimately it communicates the message that you cannot be okay unless your friend is okay. This insecure response screams codependence and an inability to separate yourself from the other’s emotions.
The secure response that we should all work towards is acknowledging their struggles but not feeding into it. “I’m sorry you’re struggling. I’m glad that you are sharing this with me. Would you like to talk about it? How can I help comfort you?” Basically, you make yourself available to the other person rather than pushing yourself onto them. You put the ball in their court and let them decide how to proceed.
When a person is drowning, you want to save them, not drown with them by thrusting your interpretation of emotions into the mix for them to deal with too.
Comment over here.