‘You don’t know what it’s like’ – Try me

woman wearing teal dress sitting on chair talking to man

I've been reading Dan Ariely's work for the better part of a decade now, and his latest column in Ask Ariely in the Wall Street Journal touched close to home, but with surprisingly good insights especially for me.

There aren't many people in my peer group I know of in the same situation as me. Only last week did I meet someone similar in age whose parents had both died, among other things, and I remember trying to describe my feelings to people but thinking throughout the whole experience 'you don't know what it's like'.

Dan's latest column touches on this and gives an insight I had never even considered. You would expect people who have gone through similar situations to have similar feelings, at least I did in the past. It turns out that might not be true at all, and in fact, although they may have had the same experience, they almost certainly wouldn't have had the same feelings.

Which is all to say, if you think you need someone who has gone through a similar experience to be able to console you best, think twice. Rather, people who haven't been through the experience, yet know you well, are well-situated to give you good advice. Remember this the next time you need a shoulder to cry on!

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