Listening is one of the easiest ways to be there for someone when they’re going through something. Like any good friend, partner, or family member, you’ve been in a position where you’ve been attentive, sharing pieces of advice, and offering emotional support. Have you been in a place where you’ve empathized with their difficult situation and tried to validate their experiences and feelings? Or are you the ear to listen when someone is going through it?
Being a good listener is the first step to having empathy. Once you have the tools to listen to someone and put in the effort to understand their feelings—it’s a step in the right direction. This article emphasizes listening as a key to understanding someone. When you make the effort to care and actively listen to someone, it helps to strengthen your emotional empathy and understanding. If you’re in-person or on the phone, listening to how the person sounds can indicate how they’re feeling and give you a better grasp of their emotional state. This article breaks down how to be a better listener. One of the most effective ways to be a good listener is to avoid interrupting and pay attention to details of your conversation that can help with asking questions on how you can help them process their feelings. Being able to grasp how something is feeling can make it easier for them to feel less overwhelmed and alone.
Being a good listener doesn’t always come naturally, and that’s ok. Go back to last week, and think about past situations where you might’ve exercised empathy. Were you a good listener? If not, take the time you need to unpack your listening skills and slowly level up as you see fit.