It’s nice to know that colleagues trust you with their problems. But being the person who coworkers always turn to for support can be exhausting and stressful, so it’s important to learn to say no. You can be supportive while putting up boundaries:

  • Convey empathy.Make it clear that you feel your colleague’s pain and that you’re not denying that their feelings are legitimate.
  • Tell your coworker that you’re not in a position to be helpful to them right now. If you feel comfortable explaining why, do so.
  • Refer them to another coworker or someone who’s working on something similar, so they can help each other. You can also suggest an article, book, or other resource on the topic.
  • Let go of the guilt. There is only so much help you can provide before burning out.