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DrasticDreamer's avatar

Do you think we tell others what we want to hear?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23976points) October 22nd, 2010

For instance, when someone says, “You’re not alone and you never will be”, are they saying it because they want to believe it is true for themselves, as well?

I realize there are in-between reasons, too. I just wonder how often this might be the case.

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12 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

There are a lot of things I say that I reflect on and wonder just what this question is asking. When I commiserate with a friend, how charitable am I really being? I know there are times when I am trying to convince myself of the words that are coming out, but I would like to think that there are also times when I truly care unselfishly.

And that’s what I think this question boils down to: a kind of selfishness. Are humans capable of real altruism? I believe we are. I choose to believe that there are times when we act without thought of ourselves.

jrpowell's avatar

For instance, when someone says, “You’re not alone and you never will be”, are they saying it because they want to believe it is true for themselves, as well?

I disagree with this premise. I say stuff to make people feel better. While it might not help I will let someone know that I think about them when they are having a bad time. I’m agnostic.

edit :: I can see how people could make that leap. As a rational agent I cant.

YARNLADY's avatar

Our suggestions and advice will certainly have a personal experience component, how could it be any other way? However, we are more than the sum of all our previous life.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I agree with both of you. I know I say what I do to others because I want them to know I care, and to make them feel better. But the thought occurred to me this might not be the case for everyone. Maybe some people say things to reassure themselves? And then that got me thinking that because this occurred to me, that it may have occurred to others, as well. And if that is the case, it made me paranoid that some people might not believe the things I say, and know that they’re truly cared about by me. :-/

I should probably go to bed….

BoBo1946's avatar

Depends DD, some situations require honesty and other’s don’t.

john65pennington's avatar

Ever called in a requested song to a radio station?

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think comforting themselves is why most people say things.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I think it depends on the person, of course. However, I definitely say those things in an attempt to help someone, to comfort someone, to make them feel better. Not for myself. I can not think of a single instance when that was the case for me, personally.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes and probably why I tell everybody “you are really great!”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

In most cases, yes, and I think it comes down to two different factors:
1.) Personality A few friends rely on living in such a positive world that their only way to combat negativity is to look on the bright side. Others only want to share the facts of the situation and look at it from the big picture. Call it reality, bluntness, or negativity, they respond how they would want someone to treat them.

2.) Personal Beliefs When our father and sister passed away, Christian friends often responded to the news with “He/she is now in a better place.” When I told an old friend who is now a minister that I am agnostic, his response was, “That’s okay…God still loves you.”

I’m fine with this. The intent is to provide comfort based upon how they wish we would treat them in a similar situation (The Golden Rule). I doubt there is any ill-intent.

gravity's avatar

I believe we often answer in a way we think “you” want to hear. At least, that is how my boss often answers. I try to be honest as often as possible… I must admit I have said what I thought the other party wanted or needed to hear at the time.

tearsxsolitude's avatar

Yes, people lie to themselves and to others all the time.

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