When other people have problems, you may want to give "good" advice, ask key questions, reassure them that "everything will be okay," take sides, warn them, or judge them.
However, as these 12 Roadblocks or barriers indicate, these common attempts to help often do more harm than good. They take "ownership of the problem" away from the other person. They usually make people defensive. They block communication and they block people from doing their own problem solving.
1. Ordering, Directing: Telling the other person what to do.
Examples: "Don't worry about it.", "Stop it!"
2. Warning, Threatening: Telling the other person what will happen if s/he does something.
Examples: "If you don't start studying, you're going to fail.", "If you keep acting like this, you're just going to be in more trouble."
3. Preaching, Moralizing: Telling the other person what s/he should do.
Examples: "You shouldn't talk like that about him.", "You shouldn't feel that way."
4. Advising, Giving Solutions: Telling the other person how to solve his/her problem.
Examples: "If I were you I would just forget about it. It's no big deal.", "If that happens again, why don't you tell someone?"
5. Arguing, Persuading with Logic: Trying to influence the other person with facts, logic or your opinions.
Examples: "The fact is, most parents are like that.", "The logical thing to do would be to just ignore him."
6. Judging, Criticizing: Making negative judgments or evaluations of the other person.
Examples: "You're just being stubborn.", "If you weren't so touchy, you wouldn't get so upset when someone says something about you."
7. Praising, Agreeing: Offering a positive judgment about the other person.
Examples: "You guys have always been good friends.", "I'm sure you can work this out. You're so good at that."
8. Name-Calling, Labeling: Making the other person feel foolish, stereotyping or categorizing him.
Examples: "You're acting like a baby.", "You act so lame sometimes."
9. Interpreting, Analyzing: Telling the other person why s/he's acting this way, analyzing why s/he's saying or doing something.
Examples: "You're saying that just to get attention.", "You're just tired."
10. Reassuring, Sympathizing: Trying to make the other person feel better, talking him/her out of his/her feelings.
Examples: "Don't feel bad, it'll be okay.", "By Friday, you'll forget all about it."
11. Questioning, Probing: Trying to find reasons, motives or causes; searching for more information information to help you solve the problem.
Examples: "How long have you been this mad at her?", "Why didn't you do something about this before now?"
12. Distracting, Humoring: Trying to get the other person away from the problem, pushing the problem aside, kidding him/her out of his/her feelings.
Examples: "Well, it's a good thing the President doesn't have problems as serious as yours.", "Let's talk about something else."*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's F.E.T. Young Adult Resource book