My husband told me he tries to avoid putting people in a situation where they had to feel sympathetic. He thinks it’s a waste of time in both directions. This correlates with my experience.
I have some hard core problems. If I tell people about them they will feel sympathetic, and consequently they will feel obligated to try to help. Typically they suggest I try things I have already tried many times over which gives me the burden of explaining that I have already tried the thing, why it didn’t work and so forth.
In the process, I have just told the sympathetic person that their offer of help is of no use. Not only a waste of time but a it causes of pain in both directions.
I’ve learned this lesson well. Consequently I almost never discuss my problems as they are all exceedingly complicated. Further if they are resolvable at all, I’m looking at a process that will take years if not a decade or more. It’s exhausting!
There’s another type person who loves sympathy and tries to garner it at every turn. I am not sure what benefit it brings and I wonder if you know.
I do contact people about my problems but only for practical advice that I feel they will have available.
I also dump emotion / pain onto people at times but I only do this with people who I know have the capacity to shrug it off on go on with their day.
Update – I wrote this 11 years ago. Nothing has changed!
Do you try to get people to feel sorry for you? Why? Also where is your Neptune?