I used to have a friend that was going through a rough time….always. She would call and tell me all about her woes for hours on end. I was going through a rough time too but I never had the opportunity to vent. Having friends you can share with is extremely important for stress relief but make sure it goes both ways and you aren’t the only one on the listening end.
Here are some tips for being a great listener.
- Keep your phone on silent or put away.
- Actually listen. If you are going to offer your time and attention, stay present and focused.
- Make eye contact and avoid distractions.
- Make it about them. Don’t hijack their story with examples of your own.
- Be thoughtful. Take some time to think about your response if you have been asked for advice.
- Avoid judgement. We all have things we could be judged about.
- Show them you care. Emphasize how much you care about them and what they are going through.
- Ask questions. Make sure you really understand what they are sharing with you.
- Let them cry. Try to avoid telling them ‘don’t cry’ or ‘it will be ok’ to make yourself more comfortable.
- Follow up. It shows you are a real friend and it will be appreciated.