My 4 Favourite Words

Have you ever felt like somebody was telling you something that happened to them, you were just checking in on how they were, and they told you a kind of crappy story? Did it feel like you needed to fix their problem? Truth be told, they probably don’t need you to fix their problem and likely don’t want to hear your suggestions. My four favourite words are: “What do you need?”

Maybe I need food, maybe I need a coffee, maybe I just need a listening ear. The power in somebody asking me this is that they’re honouring my choice in the manner and they respect that I can actually fix most of my own problems. As a human, I still need that connection, that support.

So next time somebody shares about their day, or something that happened (good or bad), consider checking in with them and either asking them what they need. If you are sharing and feel overrun with someone’s fixing of your own problems, take a moment and tell them what you need.

“I just need a night alone. I just need you to come by with a bottle of wine.” You are now empowering yourself to get the best support possible.

So, check in with yourself. What is it that you need?


Support comes in many different forms. The most important question is always: “What do you need?”


Karyn Zuidhof, Calgary Psychologist

As a Registered Psychologist, I have experience helping people with a variety of concerns including, but not limited to stress, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, parenting, and relationships. Together, we will use cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), and collaborate to find the thoughts and actions creating obstacles in your life, test them out, and combat them to decide if they’re helping or hindering you. Most of all, I want to help you reach your potential, and make the way there a little easier.


2 Responses to “My 4 Favourite Words”

  1. Carla Jordan

    The only time anyone ever told me a crappy story was when I asked them how they were. I worked in service for many years where “How are you?”, is a common, but mostly meaningless greeting.Do I really want to know that? My boss greeted a client with that phrase phrase one day, and the client hesitated for a few moments, then looked up at him and said;”I’m homeless for the second time this year, I don’t have a job, and my boyfriend has beat me up for the last time. There was dead silence for about 20 seconds and she was holding back tears.I looked up and said What can I do for you today? and we transitioned on from there. Since that time I have never asked anyone How they were, unless I genuinely wanted to know, good or bad.I have been asked that a few times on a couple of dark times in my life.It is hard to say “Fine!, when you have just received devastating news or are otherwise going through a rough time.Don’t ask someone how they are unless you really want to know.Pretty much reserved for close friends and relatives.

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