The best thing you can do is just to be there for your friend when they want to talk. People are often reluctant to talk about the issues they are facing – so it can be a big deal when they decide to spill.
1. Let your friend know that you are there for them
You might think they know this already but it helps if you remind them. Sometimes just knowing that someone cares is enough.
2. Don’t be too pushy about it
They’ll talk when they’re ready.
3. Go somewhere quiet and private
This will help you listen and reassure your friend that what is being discussed will not be overheard.
4. Keep it between the two of you
Assure your friend that anything they say will stay between the two of you (and make sure it does)!
5. Remember to just listen
Don’t be too eager to jump in with your pearls of wisdom (unless they ask for your advice).
6. Don’t judge
It’s not your life and you don’t necessarily know the full story.
7. Enjoy being able to help
Helping someone share their woes can be a rewarding experience and can even make you feel better about your own life. And you never know, there may come a time when you need someone to talk to. If you’ve helped others in the past, they may be only too pleased to help you in the future.
8. Let it out
After listening to your friend’s troubles it might be helpful to ‘Offload’ – this might mean telling someone else that you trust about what’s happened. If you are going to do this be careful not to mention names or anything that could give away your friend’s identity.
9. You're not a professional
Remember, you can offer empathy, company and maybe a bit of advice – if asked - but don’t allow yourself to take on the role of a therapist or a counsellor.
10. Refer them on
You can help your friend get the help they need by suggesting someone they can contact for advice.
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