Do You Want Comfort or Advice?

Lynda Claire
5 min readJan 2, 2022
Photo by Dan V on Unsplash

This is the question to ask anyone who has come to you to share their thoughts or a problem they are having. It can save so much misunderstanding and upset when communicating with someone. My natural desire is to go into problem solving and fixing mode when someone comes to me with something they are struggling with. It is my innate desire to make everything right in the world and for everyone to be happy. My big lesson though is that it isn’t my place to go around doing this for people all the time and that sometimes giving advice isn’t what people are looking for. Maybe they just need to offload, feel listened to and comforted. Sometimes just listening to someone is enough for them to find their own way through it without you having to say much at all.

Asking someone if they are wanting advice or comfort establishes from the beginning what it is they are seeking from you. If it is comfort then you know to be in an active listening role, to really hear what the person is saying and offer empathy if you feel it is appropriate. It gives the person the space to let it all out, feel heard and know that someone is there for them. It helps them sort out the thoughts in their mind and maybe that’s all they need. Just to let it all out so that they can move on with their day and then allow an answer to form for themselves over the coming days. It can be really hard if you are someone who is naturally a fixer not to jump in with advice and you might find yourself thinking about the conversation afterwards and all the ways you could help them. I know when I’m looking for someone to just listen to me the last thing I want is to be given advice I’m not looking for, it often makes me wish I had never said anything in the first place. It can place pressure on the person seeking comfort to do things your way when they could have found a way they were more comfortable with themselves. A lot of times people leave conversations with unwanted advice and resentment when all they really wanted was to be heard. There is seriously nothing more frustrating than someone who cuts you off telling you what you should do when all you really wanted was to vent and maybe be understood a little.

From my experience offering advice or jumping into action to solve the problem without first establishing the persons desire for this to happen can lead to so many arguments in…

Lynda Claire

Seeking those moments of magic and trying to capture them with words. Exploring my depths. Living on an island at the bottom of the world.