Social skills for autonomous people: Offerring support doesn’t always mean agreeing with someone


One thing I really have a problem with is if a friend that I’m really close to is privately venting to me about someone or a situation and going on and on about it and I want to support them - but even from what they’re saying I think they might be in the wrong..
little-niggah-sugar said:
I don’t know if straight up asking if they want sympathy or advice is the best move because it sounds like “I don’t agree with you” right away. It sounds sort of condescending to me. 
I would ask, “Do you want some advice?” but just make sure to ask it in a kind way. Or say, “This is just a suggestion, but [your advice].” Say it in a way that doesn’t imply that you’re the expert on the situation or that your answer is the absolute best. 
If a friend is doing something you find morally reprehensible, don’t yell at them necessarily (unless they’re stabbing someone or something else immediately dangerous), but just tell them you think it’s a bad move. “If I were you, I wouldn’t do that.” “I don’t think that’s something people should do.” Explain to them what about their actions seems wrong to you. If they’re of the same belief as you, you can say that it doesn’t agree with those teachings.

realsocialskills said:

Actually the thing I was suggesting works really well in my social circles. Because sometimes people want sympathy and to vent, and sometimes people want help solving the problem. Both are ok. And if you misread it and react the wrong way, it will bother the person who is coming to you.

I agree that it comes off condescending if you’re implying that there’s a right answer to the question though.

I don’t think saying “this is just a suggestion but” is usually very helpful - if someone didn’t want advice, me calling my advice a suggestion is unlikely to make it any more welcome.