Feeling genuinely heard and accepted is one of our most important needs. Providing empathy and acceptance is one of the most soothing things one can do for another. As the listener try to:
- Give your full attention and show that you are listening by maintaining eye contact, good body language.
- Listen non-judgmentally. Resist the impulse to judge who is right or wrong, good or bad, should or should not have done something.
- Try not to make assumptions.
- Reflect back what you hear and ask the person “Did I get it?”
- Ask “What would help?”
- Don’t be too quick to “fix” the problem or give advice. Make sure you show you understand what the other person’s needs and feelings are first.
- When things get dicey, ask for a time out to be able to chill out but make sure to indicate when you are ready to engage with the issue again.
- Practice, practice, practice.