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  • Writer's pictureP.E.T. South Africa

3 Reasons to Stop Solving Everyone's Problems

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

When someone is experiencing a problem most people feel inclined or eager to 'help' - by offering advice or providing a solution. But be warned, if you weren't asked to give input, you could be doing more harm than good.

Sounds complicated, right? But here are three reasons why your good intentions could have negative consequences.

Solving someone else's problem can lead to resistance or retaliation

Have you ever tried to advise a person experiencing a problem, and the next moment they’re biting your head off?

It is most likely that they aren't seeking an answer or a solution, but instead an empathetic ear to listen to what they have to say. By giving them a solution, you could be unlocking defensiveness.

In a situation like this, your role is quite easy - keep quiet and listen. Only respond when asked, and even then only respond by acknowledging the emotion you hear: "It sounds like you are very confused and unsure about what to do about your conflict at work." If you manage to do this correctly, the chances are that they will open up even more and eventually solve the problem on their own.

Solving someone else's problem can rob them of personal growth

Think about the sense of accomplishment you felt the last time you solved a problem on your own. Every problem we encounter in life awards us with an opportunity for growth, and the only way to learn how to solve problems is to face them.

So, next time you find it on the tip of your tongue to say "I know exactly how you feel, but when I was in a similar situation...” bite it! Because the chances are that the rest of that sentence will take complete ownership of the other person's problem and rob them of an opportunity to grow.

Solving someone else's problem could lead to dependency

Being a constant hero in someone else's life will eventually chain you to that label. A person could become reliant on you to save him/her from all of their problems, leaving you with little time and energy to battle your villains.

"There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime” so when you teach people to fish, they’ll be able to feed themselves. And effective parents, teachers, and leaders all use that principle to instill competency in their children, students, and workers." - Dr Thomas Gordon

Don't beat yourself up! It is incredibly difficult trying not to solve other people’s problems - especially when it comes to the people closest to you. Set it as a challenge for yourself, and we promise you will reap the rewards in little to no time.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this communication is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult a professional on any medical or psychological concerns. The articles and blogs are posted only as opinion or ideas, and are general in nature. The administrator takes no responsibility for any action or outcome a reader may make as a result of reading a post.

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