‘Do you have a Problem?’ ‘Me too!’

When someone is upset, we try to cheer them up. It’s not that we are trained that way, but if you notice we often try to share positive thoughts and perhaps even our own experiences, give them some encouraging words and make them feel optimistic.

This is what I used to do, till an incident changed my approach.

I was casually talking with a friend about how life had changed a lot since college. I’m not sure what exactly triggered that thought, but my friend started pouring out her problems that started shortly after college. She was venting about how everyone around her was being unreasonable. Nobody cared enough to understand what she was going through. She went on and on, and I didn’t interrupt her. I felt she would be better if she spoke about it.

Doesn’t everyone have problems to deal with?After she stopped speaking, for almost 5 minutes none of us spoke. She then felt guilty for burdening me with her troubles. I told her it was fine, because I was going through some problems too, both personally and professionally, and that I could totally relate to her. She was shocked. I was surprised at her reaction. For a minute she left all her problems and asked me in a sarcastic way what could possibly be wrong in my life. I was slightly annoyed and asked her what was wrong if I had problems.

She apologized and told me that I did not come across as a person who might have a lot of issues bothering me. She said I was always optimistic and happy and eating with family and friends (thanks to my Facebook updates). To clear her doubts, and to clear my mind I shared a few instances where I’d completely lost it with friends/family/colleagues and I assured her that I had my own share of troubles. I added that I did not wish to talk about it openly and I had a different way to deal with them.

My friend’s face brightened up. She said that she felt better. I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained that, these days almost everyone projects themselves and their life style (again, thanks to Social Media) in a very happy way that she felt none of them actually had problems to face, at least as much as hers. But now, having heard that even I had similar issues, she was happy that she was not alone.

Later that day, when I was thinking of our conversation, I smiled thinking how I had indirectly cheered up my friend. I also realized that, like her and like me, everyone has problems to deal with. We might stand outside and wonder what could possibly go wrong in their lives, but when we take a step closer to them we might know what bothers them. Despite that pressure, some people learn not to be worried all the time and make an effort to enjoy and be happy. They try to deal with it in the best possible way and come up with a solution. I’m sure there are many people around us in such situations and we could definitely learn a lot from them. So the difference is about how people deal with it.

After all, the grass is/seems greener on the other side. But when you eventually make it to the other side, sometimes you would realize it was no better than where you were initially. 

Image Courtesy : FreeDigitalPhotos

34 thoughts on “‘Do you have a Problem?’ ‘Me too!’

  1. There is an adage in Tamil.வீட்டுக்கு வீடு வாசப்படி .No one is free from problems and as you have rightly said it all depends on how one handles them.

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  2. .
    Reading about the fake upbeat updates on social media can invoke sadness when we compare them to our ordinary lives.
    Knowing that others too have similar problems reassures us that we are not singularly lacking in the ability to solve life's problems

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  3. Everyone has problems and worries. Some people show it. Many don't.

    I have noticed that young people (incl. me, when I was) find it difficult to believe there is no idealistic utopia on earth.

    Destination Infinity

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  4. Your friend's reaction reminds me of famous 3 idiots dialogue:
    jab dost fail hota hai, toh bohot dukh hota hai… par jab dost pass hota hai, woh bhi first… toh aur bhi zyada dukh hota hai…..

    Everybody wants to make sure that people around them are not happy which ultimately makes them even more happy. This feeling gives them more happiness(sense of relief) than the happiness they get even when their problem vanishes.

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  5. AMEN! to each and every word. We always compare our life with that of others….feeling sad that we are not as happy as they are. Our judgments based on what is portrayed on social media. They r no different from us.

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  6. it was slightly rude on her part to cheer up after coming to know that you have problems too..that i think was a bit odd.

    We tend to drown in unwanted grief just by comparing ourselves with every one we can spot around us. That the area that needs a change.

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  7. Thanks Uma!

    I am an example of that. I dont feel comfortable talking about my problems even with my friends. I trust very few people and confide in them. I avoid ranting about it online or showing that I'm upset about something through Social Media. It all comes down to us!

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  8. Thanks a lot Red! 🙂

    Yes, sometimes people tell me that they know everything about me when they see my Social Media updates. I correct them, saying that they know what I choose to share. That's the difference!

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  9. I never realized it till you pointed it out. But I guess I'm used to people relaxing by learning that everyone has such problems too. That comparison has to stop. Very true!

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  10. Being a talkative person, I've had wonderful people around me who listen to me with rapt attention when I'm explaining an idea or when I talk about something excitedly. I know that if they hadn't listened properly, I wouldn't have been able to convey my thoughts (I'm good at finding out if people are listening or pretending). So just returning the favor for those who might actually need people to listen to them 🙂

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  11. It's so weird that she didn't think that you had any problems based on your Facebook updates (that in itself made me scratch my head) but what is more ridiculous is that she felt better after learning that about your troubles! What a friend indeed!!!

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  12. I don't think she felt happy hearing you had problems too. The fact she confided her problems in you shows she considers you her friend. Continue to be the same way.

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  13. Trust me Roshni, I've come across a lot of people who totally rely on others Social Media updates and think that we update every little detail about our lives there. And I guess that's a typical human mentality – 'Am I the only one having this problem, or is everyone else facing it too'

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  14. It is true one can bring a lot of cheer by just sharing. However, i have noticed, that such outburst by people can sometimes become very contagious, and make the person they are sharing also dig up some experiences in their lives which they have forgotten. It is just like complaints, if one starts complaining it goes on like a chain.
    But I am glad you both found some cheer in sharing with each other. And also it doesn't have to mean all the happy times described by people in social media are false.
    I still have friends who speak with me over the phone sharing their problems, and in the end say they felt good after speaking to me, I may have reacted to them in a positive way, but I don't think I have a Jadhu Ke Chadhi by which I have found solutions to their problems.

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  15. Of course not. It's just that we tend to share the happy moments most of the time that people think that's how it always is. Sometimes people don't need a solution, they just need someone to listen to them 🙂

    Thanks for the comment Rama 🙂

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  16. Oh! We all have our own battles, some fierce, some small, but we all have them! Have seen that the happy social media updates of friends upset/unnerve many.But feeling happy that others have troubles too is a bit weird. I remember, I was in a doc's clinic, a lady next to me started asking questions about my son wearing spectacles at the age of 5. I patiently explained what it was for and she said, 'I am glad that it is not only my son'. I mean how can you be happy at someone else's troubles?

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