My blog, www.tuckermcbrideintheclassroom.com, has been offering supplementary ideas for the classroom and home for over two years. In addition to activities, as a psychologist, people also ask many questions about parenting, grandparenting, and a variety of relationship issues. Though I have closed my practice, the questions still come. Josie Davis Gaines is also following her joy of writing and will answer some questions.
Talk is Good for What Bothers You is an opportunity to ask a neutral friend a question. Click on the Follow button to receive a notification when there is a new post. Then, email your question to email@example.com. (Copy and paste the address into your mail server.) Josie or I will post your abbreviated question on the blog, omitting identifying information, then offer a brief response.
This blog cannot answer all your questions. And there will be no email response. Talk to a psychologist, counselor, minister, or trusted friend to continue discussing your issue. This is not a counseling session. It is an opportunity to begin to talk about things that are on your mind.
How do I tell a friend I understand what s/he is talking about without seeming to take over their conversation?
Dear Friend, I understand. No one wants to tell someone about their health problem or share a family issue with a “friend” and have it boomerang in their face. “You think that’s bad, let me tell you about my back, or my sassy child, or my boss. Try not to let “I” intrude.
Jesus taught in parables. He told stories about other people that politely gave the listener the space to see if the story applied to them. As an example, a friend might say, “I worked at the office all day, then until 9 pm at home. I’m exhausted.”
A response that indicates no empathy might be, “I know just how you feel. I had to get up at five in the morning, then didn’t get to bed until after 1 AM.”
An indication you heard them and want to help could be, “I have a co-worker who works long hours like you do. It’s hard. She feels guilty about not spending time with her mother. So, on especially long days, she calls and checks in on her mom, then tells her she won’t be available for the rest of the evening. Last, she turns off her cell’s ring tone for the evening.
If Mom doesn’t understand how busy she is, no amount of explaining will help. Know what you need and follow through.
Doris Gaines Rapp
Josie Davis Gaines