I will not tell you what to do.
I will not tell you what to think.
I will not tell you where to go.
…unless you piss me off REALLY really badly, of course.
You have to figure things out for yourself. However, if you ASK me for my input, I’ll gladly give it. And of course, I offer opinions in my own space continually.
There’s a reason for this.
If you really want to understand a problem or situation, you need to live it.
I can tell you what *I* think about the possibility of your obsession with rotating widgets ruining your plans to become Emperor of Casselblatt, but that doesn’t mean that I know a damn thing about the situation – I’ve never even played with the widgets in question, and heck, I’ve never been to Casselblatt. Are widgets even a thing there? I am so out of touch.
Why is it that people insist on doing the same to others? Let me give you a hint here, folks who LOVE to give advice: if that advice is not sought first, it is not welcome. Especially when this advice concerns a chronic condition that the advised party has been living with for quite some time. Yes, even if you too have that chronic condition. Just because – and I’m going to use my own self here as an example, as that’s one that I know well – just because you also have depression doesn’t mean that you have MY depression. You do not have my background, my chemicals, my medical history, my experiences with therapists/psychiatrists/medical professionals. You don’t know what I’ve tried and found helpful, what I’ve rejected, or what I can’t do for whatever reason. YOU. DON’T. KNOW.
I know you’re trying to be helpful. But this is not how to do it, folks. And no matter how much I appreciate your concern, this is the quickest way to get me to shut off and close down – and many other people feel the same way.
So how should you help? Firstly and easily, here’s the singlemost useful question you can offer: May I offer suggestions, or do you just need to talk about this?
This opens up the floor for your friend to say “I just am so frustrated and want someone to be sympathetic” or “I don’t know what to try next – here’s what I’ve done so far.”
This allows you to be supportive, and your friend to BE supported, and neither one of you will feel put-upon or rejected.
… And you’ll find that this tactic works well in many other situations, too. It is an effective way to provide needed listening and support. And I guarantee that your friend will appreciate you so much for it.