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Are you typically the first person everyone comes to when they need advice or help? As someone who is kind and caring enough to go the extra mile to help others with a problem or tricky situation, you also know how draining it can be to serve as everyone's ‘fixer.' Here are a few thoughts about ‘fix-it mode’ and healthy relationships:
- The desire to help others is a wonderful attribute to have. Remember though, that it can take a lot of time to sit with someone, hear everything that is on their mind and then advise them or even help them act on your advice. Being a 'fixer' comes at a cost for you and in most cases, that cost is your time and energy.
- It is absolutely your right to spend time on yourself and your needs. The things needing undivided attention in your life, such as deadlines, assignments, projects, and other to-dos are just as important as other people's problems. Balancing the time for your own needs and other people's problems is not selfish at all. On the contrary, you can only be a good friend (or a helper) if your own concerns are addressed.
- Being in fix-it mode can mean that you are already thinking of solutions as soon as your friend, loved one, or colleague starts talking about a problem. Your response may appear proactive and caring to you, but is taking away a learning opportunity. There is nothing wrong with letting the other person try and reach their own solution, especially if she or did not explicitly ask for your assistance. If you tend to provide a lot of unsolicited guidance, take a look at the distinction between "butting in" and "helping out." Providing solutions means taking charge of issues that may have nothing to do with you.
- The great thing about being in ‘fix-it mode’ means you can make other people feel supported, heard and relaxed. You solved all of their problems and they didn't have to do a thing! However, as a frequent helper, you may find yourself feeling resentful when the tables are turned and no one is available to help you.
- Sometimes people just want to be heard. Being a listener can be more helpful than immediately suggesting ideas for resolution. As a rule, no one should be able to transfer their difficulties to you. The problem should still be theirs after a conversation.
Observing how and when you find yourself in ‘fix-it mode’ can provide important insights, especially if "helping" tends to be your default reaction. Good friendships are based on give and take and you are neither obligated nor expected to resolve everyone's issues. Keeping some concern for your own time in mind when the urge to fix everyone’s problems strikes again will lead to more fulfilling and balanced relationships with those around you.