Do you find it hard to respond when a friend shares feelings

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peacefultrifle
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18 Mar 2021, 5:43 am

Hi everyone

I am curious if other people also find it difficult to know how to respond when a friend shares their feelings. It isn't that I don't care about how they feel. But when a friend messages me online and tells me about their deeper feelings and emotional struggles, I find I don't know what to say. I have one friend in particular who finds me easy to talk to and randomly messages me about what she is doing in therapy and asks for reassurance when she feels bad. I am sorry she feels bad and I recognize that she tells me because she trusts me, but I also find it jarring to be suddenly dealing with someone else's feelings with no warning. I don't know what the correct response is and it feels like I have been put on the hot seat!

Does anyone else struggle with this?



Steve1963
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18 Mar 2021, 6:47 am

peacefultrifle wrote:
Does anyone else struggle with this?

I most definitely do. I've been diagnosed with alexithymia, so I can hardly recognize and deal with my own feelings. It's caused a lot of issues in my marriage over the years.



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18 Mar 2021, 8:19 am

I don't struggle with this. My boyfriend does though, and he's an NT.


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18 Mar 2021, 8:25 am

Yes



HeroOfHyrule
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18 Mar 2021, 12:02 pm

I care a lot about my friends being upset, but have absolutely no idea how to handle it. Especially in real life. It's really frustrating when people notice and just get angry and act like I don't care about others.


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18 Mar 2021, 3:20 pm

I think I might have Alexithymia because I can't really understand my own feelings let alone someone else's. I try my best though to understand their situation and listen to them but, I really don't know what words to offer others at times when they are feeling bad. So I guess the short answer is yes?



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18 Mar 2021, 4:23 pm

If you want to have a friend be a friend. Being a Aspie is is hard to discern emotional states often .myself much less others, but I try to think about words when they talk,that would describe feelings that might fit with a description of what , I am hearing . Unfortunately am geared towards analyzing facts in statements and discussions .
So often end up up saying incorrect things . Sounding insensitive , while I verbally analyze the discussion out loud.
If only can recognize words that might apply to the feelings,I am hearing and verbalizing those feeling,/ words I think helps people understand that ,I am hearing what they are saying .
Sometimes I even sound sympathetic?


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18 Mar 2021, 4:35 pm

I think I'm a very good listener. I'm not the sort to dismiss people's feelings by saying "stop complaining" even if they are complaining. I try to understand and I respond by agreeing even if I'm not feeling the same way. I wish more people were like that.


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18 Mar 2021, 9:00 pm

I don't find it hard to respond when someone shares their feelings with me. I listen and offer a hug.


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18 Mar 2021, 9:42 pm

Generally if not caught up in my own dismal day can try to be supportive if can get enough outta my autism self
To be able to recognize the need.


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18 Mar 2021, 10:14 pm

Fairly often, no response is really needed beyond showing interest. People just need to talk to organize their own thoughts.
A friend of mine used to go visit with an old machinist with his own little shop. He became bemused at how many other guys also dropped in with no particular business, so he started careful observation. What he found was that someone would come in and say hi, and get acknowledged by a quick nod from the proprietor. Then, the owner would turn back to his lathe, and the new guy would tell all about his problem that day. There would be an occasional nod, but no interruptions until finally, there would be silence. Then, the old guy would turn around and always say the same thing. "Well, there you are, you see?"
At that, the visitor would brighten right up and head out with renewed purpose.



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18 Mar 2021, 10:27 pm

peacefultrifle wrote:
Hi everyone

I am curious if other people also find it difficult to know how to respond when a friend shares their feelings. It isn't that I don't care about how they feel. But when a friend messages me online and tells me about their deeper feelings and emotional struggles, I find I don't know what to say. I have one friend in particular who finds me easy to talk to and randomly messages me about what she is doing in therapy and asks for reassurance when she feels bad. I am sorry she feels bad and I recognize that she tells me because she trusts me, but I also find it jarring to be suddenly dealing with someone else's feelings with no warning. I don't know what the correct response is and it feels like I have been put on the hot seat!

Does anyone else struggle with this?

This is something I've struggled with too, although I think I've gradually gotten better at it.

Could you give some specific examples of things that your friend has told you (minus any identifying info, of course)? It might be easier for us to brainstorm appropriate replies to specific examples.

In the meantime, perhaps you might find some of these tutorials on active listening helpful. Active listening serves many purposes, but one of them is to help the other person feel heard and validated, which is probably the most important thing you can do for your friend.


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19 Mar 2021, 2:05 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
peacefultrifle wrote:
Hi everyone

I am curious if other people also find it difficult to know how to respond when a friend shares their feelings. It isn't that I don't care about how they feel. But when a friend messages me online and tells me about their deeper feelings and emotional struggles, I find I don't know what to say. I have one friend in particular who finds me easy to talk to and randomly messages me about what she is doing in therapy and asks for reassurance when she feels bad. I am sorry she feels bad and I recognize that she tells me because she trusts me, but I also find it jarring to be suddenly dealing with someone else's feelings with no warning. I don't know what the correct response is and it feels like I have been put on the hot seat!

Does anyone else struggle with this?

This is something I've struggled with too, although I think I've gradually gotten better at it.

Could you give some specific examples of things that your friend has told you (minus any identifying info, of course)? It might be easier for us to brainstorm appropriate replies to specific examples.

In the meantime, perhaps you might find some of these tutorials on active listening helpful. Active listening serves many purposes, but one of them is to help the other person feel heard and validated, which is probably the most important thing you can do for your friend.

Feel honored occasionally that the person values my input enough to ask me..then ,becomes important to try to
Get some idea of what might be causing their feelings, if you can., and feed them back some information based on that. If you can .


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Mona Pereth
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19 Mar 2021, 9:27 am

Steve1963 wrote:
peacefultrifle wrote:
Does anyone else struggle with this?

I most definitely do. I've been diagnosed with alexithymia, so I can hardly recognize and deal with my own feelings. It's caused a lot of issues in my marriage over the years.

Some online resources you might find helpful regarding alexithymia, if you haven't seen these already:

- Category Archives: Emotions on the blog Musings of an Aspie - several blog posts about alexithymia and the author's process of becoming more aware of her own emotions. (On the same blog, see also Tag Archives: Alexithymia.)
- Some Thoughts About Empathy by Jim Sinclair - an oldie but goodie.

Also, if your wife is willing to help you become more aware of both your and her emotions, it might be helpful if she could learn and practice the methodology known as "Nonviolent Communication."


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Jakki
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19 Mar 2021, 2:21 pm

Thank you these links seem most helpful to me.


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19 Mar 2021, 2:53 pm

Quote:
Do you find it hard to respond when friends share their feelings?
Heck, I find it hard to deal with anonymous strangers pouring their hearts out on social media websites!


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