When some people have problems, they try to unburden themselves by bringing others into their experience. These are the people who frequently talk about their issues. This is a very specific demographic. They have become experts in dumping their problems on others. These people don’t feel good to be around.
One means in which they try to emotionally pull you in, is by trying to get you to see their problem as if it was happening to you. It’s very subtle but the questions they ask start with, “How would you like it if…?” or “Can you imagine if it was your….?” The more interest you show, the easier it is to entrench you with their concerns. Most of it is unconscious but that’s no reason for kind people to lay down their defenses and accept it.
These people are master manipulators. They feed on drama and create their own conflicts. They are the ones that strategically stroke our ego. When we succumb to their flattery, we are literally opening up our energy field to them. Energetically, we look similar to a multi-petaled flower unfolding some of it’s many layers of petals. This is the same as spiritually exposing our underbelly. When this happens, they are able to instinctively sense where our vulnerabilities are and use it to their advantage.
The best way to handle these people is to not engage them. Don’t answer their hypothetical questions. Be aware of the cause and affect of how their compliments lead right into getting sympathy for their latest plight. You may have to develop a way to cut them off that feels like you are being rude. There need be no guilt. This is survival. It’s not like you can socially call them out for using these subtle methods. It would only engage them further and feed their desire for drama. Eventually, you will develop more subtle skills. But until then, they need to sense firm boundaries to stop dumping their problems on you.
The freedom that you will feel from the lessons that you are learning is worth the risk of social awkwardness.