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Why People Don’t Offer Encouragement

Why People Don’t Offer Encouragement

By Donna Dunning

Donna DunningI sometimes hear people complaining that others are not actively supporting and encouraging them. Why does this happen and, if you are seeking more support, what can you do about it?


Rather than withholding support, people simply may be oblivious to what encouragement you might want or need.

Some people around you may be comfortable with the “no news is good news” philosophy of feedback. They want someone to point out errors, but do not need others to tell them what they are doing well. They then assume that you also do not need support.

This is more often true for people who prefer Thinking. In fact, some people who prefer thinking have told me they become suspicious of those who compliment or offer vague encouragements, wondering what that person might want.

So, if you feel you aren’t getting enough support, you simply may be expecting more than the other person naturally offers. What can you do? Perhaps state your needs, so the other person understands what you want.

If motived, the other person can learn to offer more regular encouragement. At first, his or her efforts may seem contrived and insincere, as learning these skills can sometimes be difficult for people. Keep your expectations reasonable.

Also, look for support from more than one person, remembering that no one can be expected to understand and meet all of another person’s needs.


At times people may purposely choose not to offer you their support. Perhaps they don’t want to encourage what you are doing. Maybe they are angry or frustrated. Jealousy, competition, dislike, or insecurities may all be variables that can come into play in these situations.

In this case, the person withholding the support knows you are seeking it, but makes a deliberate choice to deny your needs. If others are not giving support and encouragement for this reason, it is important for you to discuss and assess the reasons for their behavior to determine the value and future of your relationship. If another person is consistently undermining your efforts, it may be necessary to minimize his or her influence in your life.


Unfortunately, when someone doesn’t get encouragement, they may suspect the other person is withholding rather than simply unaware or unskilled. Instead of making this assumption, take the time to figure out what is really going on. Have a conversation with the other person to clarify your needs and expectations. Together, determine what behaviors both of you can live with in your situation.


For more thoughts on communicating well, read Introduction to Type and Communication.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 18th, 2015 at 10:46 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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