When I am in a state of upset, I am not looking for a specific response. I am not looking to make conversation or whatever. (That’s why comments are disabled here and in the previous post.) I am looking for a friendly, sympathetic, understanding ear to assist in the healing process of alleviating my current burdens.
This Cracked article explains it well (if you do a bit of mind-bending to make it fit me in this context):
5: Crying = Problem … Must Solve
The day has just been one huge broken, overflowing septic tank. You got all the way back to the office before realizing that McDonald’s screwed up your order and ruined your lunch. You spilled coffee on your best shirt. You thought you were doing exceptional work, but your boss told you in so many terms that you’d be better off cleavage-polishing a brass pole at bachelor parties than doing your current job. He didn’t say that exact thing, so you can’t turn him in, but goddamnit, you know that’s what he was thinking.
You get home, and it all hits you at once. Your husband asks what’s wrong, and you tell him, “Nothing, it’s just been a bad day,” and leave it at that. You’d like to let loose and unload all of the shit that’s been shoveled onto your back, but there’s nothing he can really do about it. He can’t unstain your shirt, and lunch is six hours in the past. Telling him about your boss would just piss him off, and there’s a chance he’ll call him up and threaten to spin-kick his pancreas in half, getting you fired. You just need to get in the tub and cry it out.
But in His Mind …
Men think of crying as a negative thing. I mean, we know the difference between an emotional breakdown and crying through your vows at the altar — we’re not that far removed from the concept. We’re not thinking, “Oh, God, she’s crying at her own wedding! She must hate me!” But in cases of the former, our natural instinct is to track down the cause of the problem and dick it to death.
It’s not just a stereotype that men are linear thinkers. We like simple solutions to fixable problems. It’s how we give ourselves worth and keep things stable and organized in our heads. So when we see a woman crying, to us it’s like our car alarm going off at 3 a.m., and we’re desperately fumbling around and pressing every button on the keys to shut it off before the neighbors wake up and sic their monkeys on us.
In a panic, we attempt to locate what triggered the episode: What made her cry? How can I eliminate it? What can I do to make her happy right this second? Will joking help? Should I hug her? Let her punch me in the dick? Whatever it takes, that’s what I’m doing because this is awful.
And finally, it would be lovely to receive counsel not advice, if I hadn’t already learned over and over throughout my life that seeking such I may as well be looking for a billionaire nymphomaniac who will be monogamous with me:
Loud people like to give advice.
Advice in my mind is telling other people to do what worked for you regardless of whether they’re anything like you.
There’s inherently something glib, dismissive, narcissistic, and shallow about advice-giving.
This is why people generally don’t like advice—especially from elders—and tend to ignore it.
I distinguish ‘advice’ from ‘counseling’.
A counselor is someone who genuinely tries to step into the shoes of another person and tailor their counsel accordingly.
The difference is that the counselor strives to understand and empathize when recommending a course of action.
People tend to take genuine counsel seriously because it is personal, personalized, and sincere.
To really counsel someone you have to care.
Advice can be flung around at any time, at anyone.
Often it is just a means of trying to socially dominate someone else by representing oneself as the wise one and font of knowledge. One might as well patronizingly pat the advisee on the shoulder as one shows them the way to the light.
Introverts are given a lot of advice and in my experience it is almost never helpful because I have little in common with those who give it.
If one is lost, counselors are the ones to listen to. Few people are willing to stop, talk one-on-one and really try to understand first.
Where giving advice is to profess that one has wisdom.
Even a shred of ability to counsel is a proof of some measure of wisdom.
Is advice worth listening to, then?
One needs ask only one question to find out.
“How much is the advice giver like me?”
If the answer is: “not at all.”
Consider doing the opposite.