People skills for digital workers
22-23 Sept. 2014, The Barbican, London

How to stop rescuing people

portrait of Samantha Soma

Samantha Soma (USA)

When people open up to you with their problems it’s tempting to be a “fixer”, to swoop in and save the day. The more you do it, the more pressure you feel to maintain this fixer identity—making any discussion into an advice-giving session, where your need to contribute advice overrules their need to simply connect. Rescuing people makes us feel powerful and helps us regain control in an uncertain world. But it also makes us resentful because we’re solving everyone’s problems but our own.

Change your orientation from rescuer to coach and you’ll release the burden of fixing people’s problems, become closer to your friends and colleagues, and address your own problems more creatively, too. Learn to:

  • Notice when you’re feeling uncomfortable and spot situations that trigger you to rescue people.
  • Stay focused on communicating what’s happening in the present, so you can meet people’s need to be understood.
  • Practise appreciative inquiry. Ask generative questions from a place of curiosity to help people reframe their situation and come up with their own solutions.

About Samantha

Samantha has worked in diverse fields including design research, divorce and family mediation, computer science textbook publishing, eldercare, university education, urban studies, perfumery, and diversity training. She’s committed to improving people’s lives through contextual analysis, conversation, empathy, and design.

Who’s behind this?

At Together London we organise events about collaboration. We’ll make sure everyone at #dareconf has a safe and enjoyable experience. Reach us at or Together London.

Jonathan Kahn

Jonathan Kahn

David Caines

David Caines

branding and illustration
Rhiannan Walton

Rhiannan Walton