Say your friend is upset about something. He says, “Man, I really don’t like her. She’s an idiot.”
What do you say in response?
Choose wisely. You could say, “Oh, shut up. You know you’re just complaining.”
Or you could say, “Yeah she can sometimes be frustrating.”
Which one of these two responses do you think will get a better reaction from your friend? If you said the second one, you’d be right 99 times out of 100.
Because you’re validating your friend’s experience. It doesn’t mean you agree with it. It doesn’t have to feel wonderful when you say it. But it’s a surefire way to get on the same page with your friend BEFORE you say or do anything else.
You see, validation is a tonic. It can help soothe any emotion before you go in for excavation. Don’t take a hammer to solve something when a feather would do the trick.
But is validation always good?