Not sure what to say? Just listen instead.

After last Friday’s post about helping others to know what to say, I was reminded of some great advice from a friend.

Faced with someone feeling depressed, friends often remark ‘I just don’t know what to say to them’.

At its worst this can actually inhibit people getting in touch to offer support.

Because they’re anxious they won’t be able to find the ‘right words’, friends may choose not to get in contact.

But it’s important to remember that this is not the thought process of the person needing support.

Often there are no ‘right words’ and the situation can’t be made instantly better.

What really helps them is not advice, or being told what they ‘should’ do.

What they crucially need is the opportunity to express how they’re feeling and have someone there who is simply able to receive what they’re saying.

In this way their feelings are validated (given value).

In turn the person feels valued.

They get the message ‘I am worth listening to’.

Good listeners are few and far between.

If you can take time to really ‘hear’ the other person (rather than thinking what you’re going to say in response), you’ll be doing more good than all the advice in the world.

Just being there for someone is the most honourable service you can perform.

Great advice, I think.

2 thoughts on “Not sure what to say? Just listen instead.

  1. It’s so true. Sometimes we just want to talk without feeling ‘judged’ or that you can’t say what you really feel. And if you are unsure, it is always better to offer support than not. Even if they reject your help for now, they will still know and remember that you were there for them, which is a help in itself.

  2. Love this post!
    Having grown up in an atmosphere of not being heard – I value a good listener and strive to be one myself. If advice is asked for I will offer what I know or think might help but having received much advice – I Prefer to just listen! I also very much appreciate being heard when I am with a good listener!
    Thanks so much for putting into words what it is difficult to articulate!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *