Are you a patient with your friends?
Do you find yourself “always” spilling your guts out to your friends, co-workers, family members and even strangers?
Do you really think they have an answer for you or that they care to hear all of these problems you have?
Sometimes, we share out of desperation. But I challenge you to find the right times to share and the right people. Don’t be everyone’s “patient”.
Some people will get tired of it. Others could be using it as gossip material. Others feel better when they hear of your problems.
Start distinguishing who really cares and who is safe to share some things with…and not all things in your life. If you are an open book with everyone, you might want to close some of those chapters.
I challenge you to check your past conversations to see if you have been positioning yourself as the patient in other people’s lives, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Wake up! This is not a dream but real life.
I was recently convicted of this myself.
Here are a few rules of what to do. I believe you will see from these rules what not to do.
1. Think about the person you are with. Do they care about your personal life? Do they care about your business life? Do they care about your money issues?
2. Do they have answers for the current struggle you are in? If they do, is this the appropriate time to talk about it? Have you asked their permission to discuss it or have they given you permission to discuss it?
3. How do you feel after you share your “stuff” with them? Bad, worse, better or the same?
If you feel worse, that might be a sign they are the wrong person to share this situation with, and you may need to reevaluate your sharing with this person. At least, the parts that you just shared. Some people require more filters than others. Meaning, you can share many things with some people, but not all things with all people.
You can find another who is MORE qualified to share with.
Speaking things out loud can help you. But choose your listeners wisely.
I hope these three tips are helpful and will help you to not chase away your friends, co-workers or family members. There are plenty of good counselors and psychologists and listening volunteers that can listen to you if you just need to speak about your issues. There are plenty of people to help you find solutions that might not be your personal friend, co-worker or family member. If you suspect abuse, you can call the National Abuse Hotline, 24 hours, to talk to an anonymous person.
As a Stephen Minister, I am trained to listen to others and not try to fix them. As a Chaplain with Chaplains for Businesses, I am trained to pray for spiritual guidance with a small business owners. As a former single mom of 16 years, I can be a good listening ear pointing the single parent to other referrals for their situation…IF I DON’T HAVE AN ANSWER for them.
So, the next time you find yourself wanting to tell the gory details, think about who you are speaking with. Do they care? Can they help? Is this the right time to talk to them? How did you feel afterwards?
Who’s the patient? You or them? Give the people around you this article so they can stop being YOUR patient. I bet you have some patients, too!
My name is Nek’ka Migel and it has been my pleasure to share some of life challenges with you. I hope you got something out of reading this article.