“How do you do that? How can you describe precisely what I’m feeling? How do you know me?”
This question is asked to me with deep sincerity, and I explain, “It’s because what you’re going through is more normal, more common, than you know. While I understand there are specifics that are different, there is hope to find solutions. It’s gonna be ok.”
“You don’t know me! Even though you have a few things right, you just met me! It’s not that simple!”
These statements are said to me with hurt or frustration. I understand the importance of gathering information, solid listening skills, and the need to feel heard. Their statements to me are true — just not for the reasons that they believe they are true!
Their situation is still common, but they resist it; they benefit somehow from being different, unique, or special. I don’t encounter this often because this type of person is more inclined to figure things out on their own.
Understanding what people have in common with others reduces isolation, validates their experiences, and increases self-esteem. It’s a critical foundation for growth and change.
Experience is how I do it. Effectiveness is why I do it. Efficiency is a side benefit — both of us can quickly identify if we’re gonna work well together.