Illustration by Djoko Ikhsan
To be a good friend is simply to be a great listener. It may seem easy but there are some do and don’t you guys could follow through our tips we made. Showing the expression of compassion and sympathy are the initial parts to be “Your Friend’s Favourite Listener”. No matter what their story about you could be “all you ears” for your beloved friends or family. Just remember one thing, with great power comes great responsibility, don’t be a titter tatter.
Listening not Shifting
Shifting the conversation is a beginner’s mistake. Driving the conversation into another topic is both rude and disrespectful. Passion is the only key to being a good listener. This also means you may not interrupt their story with some unnecessary questions.
The phrase, “Silence is deafening” may be true. You can’t just nod over your friend’s whining about their broken heart. Showing a gesture of compassion may be a little thing they all need. “I’m not stepping in your shoes, but I feel sorry for what happened to you”, these words could ease the pain.
Assumptions as Earplugs
At some point, an intimacy will kill the conversation. “This is totally you, can’t I be more surprised?” As you listen to someone who you know really well, the familiarity may overestimate the feeling or empathy you draw over your friend’s story. Scientifically, this phenomenon is called “Closeness Communication Bias”.
The key is simple, “read the room”. In a fancy term, it’s called self-monitoring. You may start with a simple observation about your friend’s gesture, therefore you could calmly suit yourself in their situation. By reading the room, you could simply adjust your tone, attitude, and emotion you express during the conversation.
Make It All about Them (It’s not you)
Comparing your problem over their problem is a huge mistake. Instead of mirroring yourself upon their suffering, you could show your tender feeling about their problem. “Is there anything I can do?”. expressing your thoughtful response is a big help. Just, don’t mix up your personal experience upon their problem.
Don’t Rely on Their Past
“I know better than you do”, it’s a total no. Relying on the past to understand someone in the present is doomed to failure. Listening doesn’t mean judging, so I guess you can’t just easily make assumptions based on their past.