Sure, we would all love to help those we love. But intention does not always translate into the ability to be truly helpful or even of assistance. You may long to be supportive to him but lack all the skills to do so.

She may have a very different notion of what “help” feels like. Your style of being comforted or soothed should not be the way you automatically go about putting him at ease. You are much better off trying to learn and understand the particular way that she wants love to be delivered.

You may value someone simply listening intently to you. You want them to observe your feelings and simply show regard for you. You may even wish to be with someone with whom you don’t have to speak at all, and they will not rush to fill in your silences.

Daily drama happens, my friends. My Amazon package is late again. Oh, and beware of the new Amazon scam. My husband ordered me some expensive jewelry, but motorcycle parts came instead. Thankfully, they fit his bike. Geez. I got another camera speeding ticket. Arrrrg. The driver asked the police officer: ‘What am I supposed to do with this speeding ticket?’ The cop said: ‘Keep it. When you collect four of them, you get a bicycle.’

But truly, is there anything she can really do to help? Perhaps just being heard is all you really need. After all, how often do you simply get sympathetic interest and attention?

Does love feel real to you when you get a flow of ideas from him and concrete answers? Maybe you truly want a plan. Perhaps words alone won’t reassure you and you would love a well-chosen gift. That gesture may feel very touching.

Do you want to simply hear hopeful words like: “Everything will be all right”? Maybe you want her to simply take a walk around the block with you. Surrendering to a hug may remind you of early childhood. Being held may be the most soothing feeling of all.

If you offer to “be there” for your loved ones, please do not be conditional. Be honest about what you are actually able to do. If you promise support, but disappear when the time comes, it will make it difficult to trust you. Ask if advice is wanted or helpful. We oftentimes get overwhelmed with suggestions before we even have a chance to finish talking.

The wrong offer of love can be utterly exasperating. We get hurt when our efforts at loving seem to be unappreciated. To avoid those risks of misunderstanding, know that there are different styles of support. Perhaps his efforts to help were wildly misdirected this time. But please remind yourself that he was sincerely trying to be kind, caring, and compassionate.

It’s okay to say: “I don’t know what to say.” It’s reassuring to loved ones to simply know that you are there no matter what.

It’s easy to observe physical maturity, but how do you know if you are emotionally mature enough to support your friends or loved ones? All the trappings of adult life do not prevent emotional immaturity. You may even feel at times as though you are dealing with an emotional infant. As they say: Maturity is knowing when to be immature. Truthfully, the hardest part of being an adult is figuring out what to cook every night for the rest of your life.

But seriously, people who are emotionally developed can examine and feel their own feelings, even the uncomfortable ones. Difficult things unfold in all of our childhoods. If someone says: “It was so long ago; I never really thought about it.” They clearly did not process any of it at all. If someone does not reflect on their history, they may not understand the life they are actually living.

Perhaps he has no resources to deal with loss, anger, or confusion. As soon as you say something real, she may retort: “That is all psychobabble, and you think too much.” The truth is that those feelings may threaten her a great deal. It’s been said: The first sign of maturity is not reacting to others’ immaturity. So how do you know when you know too much psychology? You can’t get mad because you understand everyone’s reasons for doing everything.

Have you ever pondered why two people can be in the exact same situation and act completely differently? More often than not, the difference is the maturity level in the individuals. Do you prioritize short-term pleasure over long-term benefits? Do you know someone who engages in attention-seeking behaviors or tries to avoid taking ownership for his mistakes? Perhaps she throws adult temper tantrums when things don’t go her way, refusing to take responsibility for her actions.

It’s actually your job to make it out of adolescence. Speaking of which, my son made the mistake of telling me I was being overdramatic. So, I just changed the Wi-Fi password. We’ll see who’s overdramatic in about five minutes. Famous teenage quote: Maybe if I complain about this two-minute task for 30 minutes it will go away.

But seriously, please check the following: impulsive behavior, lack of responsibility, and poor decision-making skills. It’s been said: Immaturity is a skill that some people never outgrow. So, embrace your inner child, sweet friends, but do not let immaturity be your guide.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at