Social Question

Disc2021's avatar

True or false: the best person you could talk to about your problems is a stranger?

Asked by Disc2021 (4491points) March 1st, 2011

I feel like over time, my friends, family and peers are programmed to respond to us in a particular way that may not (or may) get me the inspiration, insight, answer or response that we were looking for. Maybe it’s their own personal biases, or, maybe their consideration of us causes them to urge us to do what they want us to do, not necessarily what’s best for me. Most people are familiar with this line “I care about you so I’m not telling you what you want to hear, I’m telling you what you need to hear.”. I’m here to posing the question, “Need to hear – according to what or who?”. I’m beginning to feel like sometimes, the best person to go to about my problems is my own self. Or, is it?

There have been times when I’ve confided in strangers – or have been in the reverse situation that the result was like a type of revelation or epiphany. It’s like the times you spend hours, days, weeks stressed out over something and then suddenly you reach a point where you think to yourself “Wow, how could I have been so silly?”.

Does anyone else feel this way? Like sometimes, the best advice is received from complete random, total strangers as opposed from where you’d expect it?

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18 Answers

Joker94's avatar

True, but I guess it depends on the person too. I made a friend at a thespian society conference some months ago, and we’ve talked about some things I don’t feel comfortable talking about with other people. In this case, I think it’s the security of not knowing anyone else at the other’s schools, thus no fear of gossiping.

OzzieOwl's avatar

`Yes,’ I definitely feel the way you do Disc2021, for the very same reasons
you describe here, a stranger is in the position of being able to be totally
unbiased, which is invaluable as far as emotional listening, attention and
responding goes.

marinelife's avatar

It depends on the stranger.

By the way, I have never had a friend I confided in say that to me. You may need new friends.

filmfann's avatar

One of the reasons a therapist can be so helpful, is that you can totally open up to them, and not have to worry about the stuff you say being held against you 2 years from now when you’re at a party together, and she has had too much to drink.

Adagio's avatar

Not necessarily a stranger but someone not involved in your life in any other capacity,e.g. a counsellor, can be invaluable.

woodcutter's avatar

Yes, like a shrink or a bartender, yeah.

Soubresaut's avatar

Well, I’m not that brave around strangers so it’s not any easier for me to talk to them, but I understand the lack of help those most immediately around you can provide.
Many (not all, but many) for me—“whatever you do is great, we’ll love you no matter what” which sounds good I guess, but it winds up being—“we don’t really care what happens to you, so long as you’re still here with us” even if they don’t mean it that way

…lucky jellies are a bit of squish and with a bit of lurve-sting! ≈D

Hibernate's avatar

You don’t get the best answers from strangers all the time. Why ? Because people who know you [ i mean peopel who really know you .. close friends / family ] have an ideea of what makes you tick. They know how you’ll manage in different situations then they’ll know what will suit you better in most cases.
Not to mention but when things go wrong people closer to you know what to point at if something doesn’t go to well.

This doesn’t apply all the time. Sometimes you need someone with an objective opinion.
Well whatever one feels ...

Cheers ^^

12Oaks's avatar

So so so so so so false. The best person to speak to about your problems is yourself. They’re your problems, and you know them best and know yourself best, so it would seem you are the expert on your own problems. Bringing in strangers? I couldn’t imagine doing that.

downtide's avatar

It depends on the stranger and the situation, but in general, no.

Cruiser's avatar

The best person to talk to about serious, deep personal problems is a listener. Could be either a friend, family member, strange or none of the above. I would have to say very few people I know really know how to listen. Which is why people go to and pay shrinks for their advice because they know how to listen.

Disc2021's avatar

I feel like counselors/psychologists, etc. someone being paid to listen to you, while may be close to what I’m pointing at, may be a little artificial. I feel the dynamic there is more or less a person being affixed to give a professional, constructive response rather than a blatant, honest opinion. Just thought and I’m not even rejecting this idea.

@filmfann Ahh, I’ve been there.Oops.

@marinelife Maybe I do – but I’m not the type of person to just make a bunch of new friends on a whim.

@CWW I highly agree.

@12Oaks Do you disagree because you simply can’t imagine doing something like this or because your opinion is according to actual experience? On one hand I agree with you – yourself is the main expert on your own problems. However, sometimes I feel like there’s something I have to do – something that I have to do in order to overcome current issues in life, and part of the challenge is not having any clue of what that something is.

12Oaks's avatar

@Disc2021 Just actual experience of not talking to strangers about stuff like that.

Adagio's avatar

@Disc2021 “I feel like counselors/psychologists, etc. someone being paid to listen to you, while may be close to what I’m pointing at, may be a little artificial. I feel the dynamic there is more or less a person being affixed to give a professional, constructive response rather than a blatant, honest opinion. Just thought and I’m not even rejecting this idea.”

Any counsellor not prepared to give me a forthright, honest opinion is not a counsellor I would wish to work with, honesty needs to be handled carefully of course but to my mind a counsellor should always be honest with his/her client, more or less gently holding up a mirror for clients to see themselves more clearly in.

Disc2021's avatar

@12Oaks With all due respect then, how can you possibly be so certain that my suggestion is so so so so so so so false? This subjective; isn’t really a matter of fact. Although you make a perfectly valid point that makes for a convincing argument, I dont think it necessarily negates or falsifies what I’m suggesting.

@Adagio Well said – perhaps I’m “negative-Nancy-ing” the idea of a counselor, or a good counselor for that matter. I just don’t like the idea of it being business transaction.

12Oaks's avatar

@Disc2021 Because you said “the best person you could talk to…..” Since it was written in the first person, and a direct question, I took that you to mean “me.” It’s so so so so so false for the you, being me, in this question. Another you, being someone else, may have a different perspective on how to handle such a thing. That’s how I could be so certain.

jazmina88's avatar

I think a familiar would have more of the big picture.
i see a therapist sometimes.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I have found advice from strangers online to be the most helpful on more than one occasion in my life. Why? Because strangers can view your situation objectively easier than someone who might know you personally and know you well.

It can be easier to be honest with a stranger than to be completely honest with a friend. After all, what is there to lose? What eggshells are there to walk on when you really want advice and you know the people don’t know who you are and wouldn’t make the connection that they have ever helped you in your life if they saw you out in public?

Getting advice from strangers can take away any potential awkwardness that might taint a personal friendship later if you had chosen to get advice from a friend instead. It might even save you from unintentionally destroying friendships you’ve already established that you don’t want to ever end. Sharing too many personal problems with a friend isn’t always the wisest idea.

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