There are a few things you do not want to do when you are listening.
- Don’t interrupt in the middle of a point. If you interrupt the person too soon, then he or she will be frustrated and won’t fully absorb what you’re saying. The person will be eager to finish saying his or her part and you’ll be causing a nuisance and a distraction.
- Don’t interrogate the person. Instead, gently ask questions when it’s needed(i.e.between gaps or lulls when the person is not talking).
- Don’t try to change the subject, even if it’s a little uncomfortable.
- Avoid saying, “It’s not the end of the world” or “You’ll feel better in the morning.” This just minimizes the person’s problems and makes him or her feel bad. Make eye contact with the person so that they realize that you are interested and are listening.
- Don’t give direct advice (unless you’re asked for it). Instead, let the individual talk the situation out and find his or her own way. This empowers both the individual and you. It is the course most likely to result in beneficial change and self-understanding for the “teller” and for you.