Talk Less, Listen More
Continuing on from my last post, I’d like to share with you all the best wisdom I’ve learnt about giving advice: Don’t give advice.
Now this is harder than you can possibly imagine! Next time you’re hearing a person vent, just try it for yourself and see how hard it is! It’s almost impossible not to offer some words of helpful action.
However I have learnt from my dad that the best advice one can give is simply a listening ear. I always call him in times of need because he listens to my whole situation, without judgement, without instruction, and with a little added prompting I always seem to figure out my feelings on my own. It is so refreshing to have someone just listening to you, in a place where we all want to do is jam in our opinion.
Now I absolutely don’t fault anyone for wanting to give advice. We all just want to help, damnit! But humans are expertly problem-solving creatures; we want to FIX and we want to fix NOW. But oftentimes, action is the one thing the distressed person can’t take. Action is daunting and tiresome when you are scared and confused.
So leading on from my last post, allow someone to feel their own feelings, and don’t just push your own experiences onto them. You may find you deepen a bond just by hearing them all the way out and allowing the conversation to naturally guide itself towards what they REALLY want.
Art by Rita Kirkman, entitled “Chocolate or Vanilla”?
I have attached below some helpful phrases for actually comforting someone!