Losing someone is one of the most difficult things one can go through. If you have a friend who recently lost someone, the best advice would be to be there for them without stepping over the line. However, being there for someone can be a tricky business. Here are 9 tips on how to listen well.
Find a safe and comfortable place to talk
Find a place where both of you can talk properly. Your friend should feel safe and comfortable in the physical space you are in so it’s a lot easier for them to open up.
Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of distractions present when you two are talking. This is why you want to find a place where both of you can talk privately, away from the noise, away from distractions.
Make sure you are not pressed for time
If you truly want to be there for someone, you have to show it. You can buy them memorial ornaments to show that you care about them and that you are ready to listen to their grieving. However, when they do open up, make sure that you are not pressed for time. If you are in a hurry, no matter how much you hide it, they will notice it.
Watch out for your tone
Watch out for your tone when speaking to them. Losing someone is more than just buying them memorial ornaments, you should also make sure to be there for them should they need company.
Do not be judgemental
Stemming from the previous point, watch out for your tone so as to not appear judgemental. This is definitely not the time for that, which brings us to our next point. Bonus tip: gift them memorial ornaments to show them that this is a safe space.
Mirror what you heard the speaker say
If you are having a hard time filtering what you say to other people, try mirroring them instead. The Imago Technique, introduced by Harville Hendrix, is a technique used to improve the communication between couples. Mirroring is part of the Imago Technique, which is then followed by validating and empathizing.
Be mindful of your body language
If you want to learn how to listen well, don’t listen with just your ears. Body language is an important aspect to make the other person feel as if you are genuinely listening. When you listen, make the right amount of eye contact, lean in, make sure you focus on the speaker and, as mentioned earlier, avoid distractions.
Don’t be afraid of silence
Here’s an underrated and unexpected tip for listening: do not be afraid of the silence. It may seem contradictory but silence is an indicator that both of you are processing what was said by the other. Thus, indicating that you are both paying attention and listening to one another.
For our final point, make sure you empathize. Remember, your friend recently lost someone they love so make sure you show them that you are here to support them. Whether they need someone to talk to or simply time alone, respect that.
Empathizing is when you convey back to the speaker what they are feeling. Validate their thoughts and, as much as possible, keep contradicting thoughts to yourself, at least for now. Saying “I know how you feel” may seem simple and mundane but it will go a long way.