Posted by Kali Munro on October 6, 2004, at 20:18:06
In reply to Question for Kali, posted by tabitha on October 6, 2004, at 1:37:49
>>>> What's a good way to respond to someone who is wanting support for feelings of upset, when I think their feelings are based on a perception that needs to be challenged? For example, let's say someone takes offense at a post, but I read it differently and don't think any insult was intended. Let's say they get several responses validating their feelings. How can I say anything without seeming to be taking sides against them, or invalidating their perceptions? Is it better to just say nothing if I can't be totally supportive?<<<<<
Great question, Tabitha. The first thing that comes to mind is even if someone misinterprets what someone else is saying (which happens all the time) they still feel what they feel and need understanding for their feelings. As you're saying, feelings are not facts and so, for example, just because someone feels "attacked" it doesn't mean that they were attacked. But, they still feel that way.
So, to answer your question: You could say something validating about how they feel, for example, "I can hear how hurt you feel, and I can understand how you would feel hurt given how you heard so-and-so's post. I want to share that I read her/his post differently than you. When she/he said such and such, I think you heard her/him as saying....and I heard her/him as saying.... I know you feel what you feel, and perhaps I am wrong, but I just wanted to share a different perspective with you."