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Comforting Friends Through Hard Times
by Chris Malone,posted Jun 26 2014 4:38AM
How do you comfort a friend in need? If you think pointing out that every cloud has a silver lining is a good plan, you'd be wrong. A new paper reveals that when participants "positively reframed" negative events it did not resonate with people with low self-esteem. In fact, the method was found to potentially backfire and make the comforter feel worse because their comforting wasn't working. What worked better was the use of "negative validation", or telling the person that their feelings, actions or responses were normal and appropriate to the situation. Researchers say that positive reframing fails to work because it "may suggest to some...that their anxiety about the upcoming event is unfounded and that their relationship partner does not truly understand or accept their feelings.