Imagine you’re having a conversation with someone close to you. They share their hopes and dreams for the future. How would you typically react?

The Enthusiast

Are you the enthusiastic one, who looks to encourage them even if sometimes the dreams seem a little far-fetched or unachievable?

The Realist

Perhaps your friends come to you because they know you are the person who will be encouraging, but will also be authentic and realistic about what they’re trying to achieve?

The Disapprover

Or are you the friend wo tends to “p*** on their fireworks?” Obviously, no one wants to be known as the disapprover – it sounds quite miserable or even as if you’re a little jealous – but there are people out there who cannot contain their disapproval of others’ actions.

How do they show it?

They tend to be the friend or family member that has a good line in tuts or eye rolling. If they’re not quite that dramatic, they might decide to explain to you why things just won’t work. No encouragement, no enthusiasm, just a list of the reasons NOT to do something.

Keep a check on ourselves.

Sometimes, if we are feeling a bit low, run-down or tired, it is quite easy to slip into disapproval mode. We can seem negative and then when we leave, we feel bad that we weren’t more encouraging. We know we’ve left the other person feeling delated. Who wants to do that?

My mum (and I expect yours too) always used to say, ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!’

If you’re asked your opinion, just check in with yourself that you are not going to ruin their moment. I’m not suggesting you go along with whatever is said just to keep the peace BUT if they ask you to be honest, maybe just check with them as to how ‘honest’ they want you to be!

If you can see that they really need you to be enthusiastic and you think that it’s a terrible idea, saying something like “it’s lovely to see you so fired up about this, explain to me a bit more about how X works.” Or “this isn’t something I have experience in – I’m so pleased you’re buzzing, but you might get more helpful feedback from X.” It will give you some space to think about how you handle the conversation and not hurt other’s  feelings.