How to provide emotional support?

If you’re an ENTP (or perceptive systemizer, as I used to call it) like me, your average ‘support’ conversation might go something like this:

Friend (co-worker, sibling, anyone): “My life sucks, I have a problem [describes problem] …”

You: “Oh man, that sounds fucked up. Have you considered doing X? Have you tried Y? I just read about Z, maybe that will help! Hey, I’m good at doing A, do you want me to do A for you?”

Friend: “… no, that won’t work, I’ve tried X and Y, and Z is not a good fit for me and A? Thanks, but no thanks”

The longer I spend coming up with solutions, the more distant the other person becomes. And at some point I realize they just don’t want to solve their issue. Frustrating shit: what the hell are they whining about then?

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Why we keep waiting for an A in life

Have you ever been told by your parents that you had to do well in school? I have. My family has always valued high grades. That is not to say I was good at getting them. In fact, I distinctly remember my very first history test in the first year of high school. It was on the subject of prehistory and I was the worst in my class, earning myself the equivalent of a C. But when I reread my answers, I noticed most of them were not wrong exactly – just not extensive enough. As I tried to improve my grades, I learned how to answer exam questions in a way that matched with my teachers’ wishes. Before the year was over I was at the top of my class in history, getting better grades with every new exam.

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