Spouses, friends, and all of the other significant connections in our lives do so much for us, and it’s important that we don’t take them for granted. We rely on our friends and family when we need to be cheered up, and to give us the confidence and the courage we need to believe in ourselves. But it’s important to realize that these things are also needed of us. That’s not to say we’re required to do much; most of the time simply being a good listener is all that’s needed. Here are some listening tips from your Loveland counseling service.

Avoid Giving Advice When someone needs to vent their problems to you, you may be inclined to assume that they’re asking you what they should do about them. They’re not. Venting of anger is a way of processing the complex emotional and intellectual facets of a problem. Trust that your friend can find their way through it after speaking and thinking on the issue.

Empathize, Don’t Sympathize Feeling sorry for your friend offers no benefits, and can actually be a negative influence. Are they feeling sorry for their self? If so, you don’t need to reinforce their feelings of weakness with sympathy. If they aren’t feeling sorry for their self, then you have no reason to do so either. Instead, try hard to put yourself in their situation.

Ask Questions Being a listener doesn’t strictly mean that you should avoid talking, but keep the conversation focused on your friend. Doing so will not only to help you understand your friend’s problem, but will help them to understand it as well. Ask questions that will help you both to contemplate the issue more deeply.

Being a good listener is an essential part of any healthy relationship. When you’re in need of one and don’t know where to turn, you can count on Dr. Beth Firestein of Loveland’s Inner Source. With deep experience in psychotherapy and relationship counseling, she has the tools to help you deal with a wide variety of emotional, psychological, and interpersonal issues. Call Inner Source today!