Why saying “I’m sure you’ll be fine” is not helpful (specifically to a person with anxiety issues)

1. It invalidates my concerns.

Telling me I’ll be fine makes me feel like you’re looking for a quick way to keep me from expressing my feelings. As a person with anxiety, it is important for me to seek out support from people that I look up to, and am close to (sorry for those end of sentence prepositions).

2. It gives you authority that you don’t actually have.

You can’t guarantee that I will be fine. Even those closest to me cannot guarantee that something I’m worrying about will turn out for the better for me. Aside from pushing me off to the side, it gives me a pseudo-false sense of hope and encourages me not to accept the chance of failure. It takes away an aspect of reality that is necessary to being successful.

3. It encourages me to not talk to you about this (or other important things) anymore.

When I share a concern or worry, it means that I trust you will listen to me and help me mentally work through something I’m not feeling good about. I don’t express my concerns out of the need for idle chatter. When I start a conversation with “I’m really worried about…” or “I don’t feel good about…”, I’m trying to open the door to a larger discussion that helps me process what’s happening in my life.

Some handy alternatives to “I’m sure you’ll be fine”:
-I have confidence in your ability, and I appreciate your concern/worry. Is there anything I can do to support you?
-That sounds like an intricate situation. Do you want to talk more about it?
-It’s good that you’re concerned – I can see how invested you are in this project/job/etc.. If you’d like to talk more about how you may handle the situation, I’m here to listen.

If you don’t want to listen to the conversation, or aren’t comfortable with the conversation, here are some helpful alternatives:
-I’m not sure I’m the right person to be discussing this with.
-I don’t feel comfortable listening to this situation. I’d encourage you to find another person to talk to who can offer you more support.

Remember, guys, sometimes just listening is enough. Being an active conversationalist with an open mind can be life-changing to someone in need of your support.

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~ by ladybugblogger on November 13, 2013.

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