(may be triggering)
It seems that selfishness and inconsideration of others is so pervasive, tolerated, and encouraged in today’s society that one scarcely notices the many ways that it manifests itself. In relationships, a woman must practice proper manners, treating others politely and kindly, which will eliminate destructive selfishness and cause the woman to be trusted, respected, and admired. The well-bred woman puts others first, considering their needs above her own. This is especially true when responding to someone who has shared a hurt or problem in confidence.
The unselfish woman will never give unsolicited books, pamphlets, or website links to a person who has confided in her that he or she is suffering from some particular problem. It may only add to their pain and, at least, is not helpful. For example, I knew of a young woman who after years of silence finally had the courage to confront the fact that she was molested by her grandfather. Devastated after keeping such a secret for many years, she decided to tell a close friend in confidence, asking for prayer. Immediately, the friend mailed her the autobiography of another woman, describing her journey through a life dominated by her own poor choices and full of detailed, graphically described sexual experiences. Not only did the book in question not even come close to resonating with the young woman’s situation as a young, innocent child used against her will, but also simply reading the tales of another’s pain aggravated her own pain instead of relieving it. I do not know if the friend’s intent was to subtly inform the young woman that her problems were not that bad, or what, but she concluded she would never confide in that particular friend again!
So what should a woman do when someone divulges an issue to her? If she’s comfortable hearing out the situation, she will simply listen, refraining from casting judgment, offering solutions, or glibly stating that she understands. Sometimes people just need a sounding board to let out their pain, though they may inadvertently put their listener in an uncomfortable place; if this is the case, the listener may kindly suggest that the person discuss it with someone else. Though this may hurt the other person’s feelings, a woman should wisely choose the conversations in which she participates, making a judgment call regarding the appropriateness of the situation, especially when she is asked to keep secrets or confronted with a issue that is personally triggering for her.
After having heard out another person’s problems, a woman ought never to give unsolicited advice, especially if she is not a very close friend. In future dealings with the person, a woman will not presume to be closer to him or her than she knows she really is, even if he or she divulged private information that went way beyond the scope of the friendship’s usual depth. Refraining from giving unasked-for advice is quite difficult for women who believe that they are truly trying to help. This desire to help is good and noble, and one may certainly ask someone if there is something she can do to help. Yet, I have observed that sadly many women take the situations of others and make it all about themselves and their solutions, selfishly trying to play the heroine. This will only add to another’s pain. A milder form of this reaction is excessively following up on a friend’s situation. It is best to simply ask a friend or acquaintance how he or she is doing, instead of outright referring to the problem. To try to elicit a follow-up response without being rude, one may gently remark that she has been thinking about or praying for her friend recently. Thus, one has opened the door for her friend to re-visit the situation if he or she wants to, but if not, one has not put the friend in an awkward situation where he or she would have to express an unwillingness to discuss it further.
In addition, a well-mannered woman will always guard the confidence of another who has related intimate personal information to her, never publicly referring to anything discussed in confidence. Once a woman confided in her mother regarding marital issues she was having; her mother then posted a status on Facebook containing obvious references to the daughter’s marital problems along with a book recommendation for how to deal with them. She tagged several other people in the status who were not privy to the situation, thereby bringing her daughter’s problems to the world’s attention. Properly handling the situation would have involved her first of all privately asking the daughter if she wanted a book recommendation, then, upon receiving consent, privately relaying the book’s title to the daughter.
A well-mannered woman who treats others with respect, empathy, and kindness will be loved and trusted. As a result of other’s trust in her, she will continue handling delicate situations such as hearing confidences in an unselfish, sympathetic manner, which will reinforce the positive character possessed by a well-bred woman!