Getting Technical To Avoid The Emotional

Yeesh! I’m guilty of doing this so many times, when someone needs me to feel, and instead I start doing an analysis. That part of the mind that can problem solve is so strong that I can become blinded to the needs of others. It’s something I’ve put a lot of work into and it’s getting better.

An example of getting technical when it’s not needed is when someone shares a difficulty they are having. “My grandmother is asking me to wire up her entertainment system again. It keeps happening and I don’t want to do it.” Usually I would jump to a solution like “Well, you can tell her you don’t want to do it. It’s really okay to say that.” but they never actually told me they wanted a solution. They are simply saying they are having difficulty so what I’ve learned to do is start by acknowledging that difficulty.

Rather than offering a solution I can relate. “Wow, that is a tough one.” and follow up with a question. “Do you think it’s annoying or disrespectful she keeps asking you to do that? What would you rather talk about with grandma?”

In that way I can admit that that is, indeed, socially difficult to be in that situation with someone they care about. I can learn more about my friend by asking those questions. It might even help them to identify what the feeling is. I know for myself I can’t always place the feeling unless someone asks or I journal about it.

Offering solutions does have its place and we are valuable for having that ability. It’s also creative to be able to come up with solutions. I think in our world right now, mostly devoid of love, what we can offer is our understanding and curiosity. That seems to me to be much more valuable and I would like that from other people too.

That’s really all I wanted to say on this today. Just a short story to get the sweet juices of the empathy fruit flowing. Bonus for sounding utterly cheesy too! Good luck putting away the schematics and enjoying the thoughts of your pals.

Author Tony Crowe, Salt Lake City, UT
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