When a loved one comes to you for a listening ear when they are struggling, the natural tendency is to try to “solve” their problems. We should avoid falling into this trap. To help with this I have compiled a simple list of to-do’s and not-to-do’s that you can follow when someone shares a struggle with you:
- Telling them that everything will be ok in time.
- Saying that you understand because of a similar trial you or someone you know has been through.
- Telling them that everything happens for a reason.
- Sharing your thoughts on what they can learn from the situation.
- Telling them what they can do to make the situation better.
Here is what you should do to help:
- First: Listen and validate their feelings.
- Second: Weep with them. Mourn with them.
- Third: After listening, validating, and mourning with them, they may seek your advice. It is appropriate to offer advice at this time. Waiting until they ask may also make them more likely to follow your advice. However, sometimes feeling heard and validated is all that is needed to “solve” the issue.
To load a PDF version of this list click here.