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When someone is going through a hard time, insisting they stay strong is ineffective.
Research suggests positivity often has the opposite effect: It makes them feel bad about feeling bad on top of the original problem. It also increases the risk of depressive symptoms later on.
Seeking out people who draw out the positive side only can make you feel alone in your moments of vulnerability.
The relationship becomes a performance of happiness and creates a wedge between you.
Be aware of how your friends react to your sunny attitude. If it makes them perk up, you are doing good.
However, if your encouragement makes them withdraw, your positivity might be misplaced.
Even if you are well intentioned, it's best to consider this question: Are they asking for encouragement or do they just need to vent?
Often, they just need someone to listen to them without reaching a solution.
A question as simple as "How did you feel?" can help them feel that you share in their experience.
Empathize with them instead of offering positive cliche's. For instance, say "That sounds rough. Tell me what happened," instead of "You'll get past it."
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