By: Tamar Asayan
All anyone ever wants is to be listened to when they are going through a difficult time in their life. An act as simple as listening can be the biggest help anyone can ask for. However, it can also be the hardest thing to do because listeners have a habit of relating issues back to themselves. The aim of listening is not to try to fix them or tell them what to do; instead it is to show them that you care and feel for them as they are struggling. Oftentimes, it is better to not relate issues back to yourself. People feel the need to be listened to because they want to make sure their thoughts are rational, and do not want to overthink. When we listen it reassures the person that we care and that they are not alone.
Three easy steps to becoming a better listener is to listen, understand, and respond appropriately.
- Pay attention to not only what the speaker is saying but body language as well.
- Do not interrupt the speaker.
- This is the time to process everything the person has told you so you know how to respond appropriately.
- Ask questions; the best types of questions to ask are open ended and reflective questions.
- This allows the speaker to open up even more and explain what they are going through.
- Address the speaker’s points.
- Restate what they have told you.
- Don’t complete the speaker’s sentences. This can come off rude, and interrupts your time to listen and for them to speak. Interrupting and assuming what the speaker is feeling will make them think you do not want to listen.
If you or someone you know may be having trouble with communication speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.