I’m a problem solver by nature. They say that a lot of men go into this mode when their partner starts telling them what has happened during the day. My default mode is also to go into what can be done, ideas and come up with solutions. And sometimes that is not what the other person wants. They just want to be heard.
When people lose their partners, some say they find it very lonely particularly in the evenings as they are so used to talking to someone about their day and getting stuff off their chests. It must be very hard.
I’ve been on the receiving end too, not wanting solutions, just wanting to speak about things. It’s a fine line for the other person to understand so first we have to realise what it is we want ourselves so we can tell others.
So, if you don’t want a solution – pre-empt it with “I don’t want solutions, I just want to rant. Is that ok?”. Sometimes we don’t even realise that we don’t want a solution until one is presented in which case it’s perfectly ok to tell them that is how you feel too. If you are the listener and are unsure whether they want ideas or to just get it off their chest, simply ask them.
There is a time for solutions and a time when we just want to rant.