We all want to be good friends and listen when someone we care about has a problem. However, you don’t always have time to listen for hours. There’s also the problem of friends who want to complain and never do anything differently. Listening to their never-ending problems can be really draining.
I have found that these two responses help save time and make sure that the person you’re talking to is as invested in their situation as you are.
“Can you remind me of this in a week?”
I get lots of friends asking me for feedback on their work. In more than one case, I read the work, spent hours writing a critic and then when I got back to them their response was “Oh, actually I’ve changed my mind and I’m working on something else. Would you mind looking at that instead?”
Man oh live!
Now when someone sends me something, I write “‘I’d love to look this over, but I’m busy right now, so can you remind me in a week?” If it’s not important enough for them to remember to remind me, than it’s not important enough for me to spend time on it.
“How are you going to handle that?”
I learned this gem from The Living Course. People love to complain. They can do it for hours. Sometimes they don’t realize they’re doing it. Asking this simple question stops the complainer in their tracks. It makes them concentrate on how they’re responsible for making the changes that will make them happier. Nothing I can say will make a difference. They are the ones who have to take action. If they start going into excuses about how they can’t handle it because it’s not in their hands, ask “how will you handle the fact that it’s out of your control?”
I hope these help you save time and energy. Let me know if you have any other responses that help you.