Avoid “why” Questions by Comforting Someone Who Is Upset

When someone close to you is upset or crying, it’s natural to try to find answers. You wonder why they cry or why they think in a certain way. But the “why” questions may not be right, even if you’re trying to help.

According to John M. Gottman, Ph.D., author of The Seven Principles of Marriage , the “why” questions, regardless of their well-intentioned intentions, are subject to criticism. A simple question like “Why are you crying?” may sound like “There is nothing to cry about, explain yourself.” And “Why do you think so?” may sound like “Stop thinking like that, you’re wrong!”

So the next time someone is upset and needs to speak up, walk up to them with phrases like “Tell me what happened” or “Tell me what’s bothering you” and questions like “What makes you think so?” You don’t need answers, you just need to listen .

Seven Principles of Marriage: A Practical Guide from a Leading Domestic Relationship Expert | Amazon via The Art of Masculinity


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