When you attempt to help someone who has a problem, you’d better realize right away that he or she has that problem.  It is something they own and possess.  It is something that they have created.  It gives them something to do.  It occupies their time and attention.  It creates a kind of  “game” for them with barriers, opponents and it actually gives them a sort of “purpose” in their life.

No matter how much they complain about their problem, any problem is better than no problems.  So if you take away their problem, they then have “nothing”.

This is why people get frantic when you give a simple, logical solution.  You just told them that what they’ve created is “no big deal”.  A small game.  No real purpose.  You just implied that this BIG situation is actually nothing.  You are taking something away from them, just as if you were taking away one of their personal possessions.

You give a sane solution and what you get back is something like, “That would never work” or, “You obviously don’t understand” or, “It is not that simple” and they sometimes get upset with you.

The first thing you had better do is really “admire” the problem.  Show them that what they have created is really something and quite a big deal.  If you give this kind of real acknowledgment then at least they can see that you “get it” and you see the “gravity of the situation” and thus they will probably be more interested in what you have to say about it.

And the next step should be something on the order of asking for what solutions they have tried already and what possible other solutions they think may help the problem a bit.

At least you have started them on the road of solving the problem verses “being the problem”.

TAKEAWAY: When someone has a problem don’t give advice.  Ask questions.