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The Problem Solver

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

This third type of Listener mistake misses the goal of the conversation. As we’ve mentioned before, knowing what the goal is helps everyone be on the same page. When someone wants to vent, being offered a list of fixes will just frustrate the person. With the Problem Solver listener, this person has missed asking the goal of conversation and moved to ideas to fix before they are ready to be received. Men are often accused of this one, in part because of their socialization to do exactly this and of course women aren’t exempt from this either. When we get uncomfortable with either our feelings or a situation, this one is a real pitfall. So, if you are Listening for me, and I say, “I just need to vent. It is so tedious having to plan and prepare meals every single day. Sometimes I feel like I want to run away and join the circus!” – a response of, “Well, have you tried making a monthly list, with different categories, and …” – I’m going to be more frustrated. I didn’t want homework! I really just wanted to complain and be heard, to have my frustrations acknowledged and validated.

So, remember to keep the goal of the conversation in mind and don’t veer away from that without express permission. If I say, “I’m looking for solutions” – then you are good to offer new thoughts that may help, but otherwise, keep your ideas to yourself. Everyone will thank you!

And if you need someone less than a therapist, who is trained to do this, HOLD is here ready to listen:

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