Does someone you know need help?
To get the outcome you want, you need to attentively listen to the person complain about the problem in order to find a non-confronting way in. Focus on normalizing the problem – making it seem like a normal, everyday behaviour – and creating an alliance with the person. Do not be tempted to offer advice, which comes across as “I’m normal; you’re not.”
For example, if you hear your friend complain about a relationship, you might say something like: “I know what you mean; I’ve come across that before. You know, I was reading something about that just the other day and I found it very informative. Would you like me to send you the link?”
Once your friend feels like you’re on her side and she doesn’t feel “bad” or “wrong” about having the problem, you can enter into the second level of encouragement, such as: “I’ve heard from a friend that “X” is a real expert in this area and deals with this stuff all the time. I’m even thinking about seeing her myself. I wonder what she would make of it? She might help to give you a different perspective.”
A gentle and sensitive approach works well to open another up to alternative ways of viewing the problem. This is especially the case when you are the main support person and your friend is leaning way too heavily on you. You may be feeling overwhelmed and not know what to do. The advice you give is unhelpful and it seems like your whole relationship revolves around the problem. You never discuss anything else, your own needs are ignored and you can’t cope with the hour-long phone calls late at night anymore. So how do you say: “I’ve had enough” in an effective and compassionate way?
On any given week, we usually get about as many calls from people who want their friends or family to get help as we do from people actually seeking help. Invariably, the friend/family member is correct — there is a desperate need for help. And, those persons rarely, if ever, come in.
Why? Because people usually hear the other saying to them: “I’m normal; you’re not.”
The link above is how to avoid that.