How To: Listening

Life has truly been crazy with starting school (WHICH I LOVE, the classes are amazing), working part-time downtown Chicago AND part-time at the Children’s Advocacy Center.

So I am just going to leave you all with some food for thought that has been a theme in my classes this week:

I want to recommend a new way of listening to others.  You know when your friend is telling you about a really hard time in their life or something they are going through at the moment.  And our first reaction is to compare it to our own situation and give advice based on our own experience.  (I am 100% guilty of this).  And this does have a place, because that is how we relate to each other at times.

But in these really tough moments for others, I want to challenge you to change your response from:

“Oh, well I experienced that when…. and this is how I handled it….”


“I have been through something similar so I understand, but please tell me more about it so I can understand exactly what you are going through.”

This is how we help people, because everyone’s situation is going to be different.  No break-up is the same, no death in the family is the same, no failed test is even the same.  And you might find peoples response is… “No you didn’t go through that, I did.”  Everyone is the expert of their own lives, so please let them talk to you about it.

And honestly, sometimes people aren’t looking for advice, they are just looking to talk.  So be there to listen.

I know for me personally with Ryane passing away, I received advice about grief, words of sentiment, and many cliches.  After the fact, I had people asking me the best way to respond to someone who has lost a loved one.  Overall, the most helpful thing that people did was listen, and let me talk about her and my feelings.  Their response was “I am so sorry for your loss, do you want to talk about it?”  With this open invitation, I could let them know if I was ready to talk or not.

This is so IMPORTANT.  No cliche (“Everything happens for a reason” or “This is all a part of God’s plan”) or advice (“Grief gets better with time.”) is going to make someone feel better (also, it is OKAY if you have done these; I have as well), but talking about it will help that person as long as someone is listening.  That’s why therapy works, because someone is listening to you and making you feel heard and valued.

This is a HUGE lesson for me, and something that I will be striving to achieve as I get more into the social work field and become a counselor.  It is so much more important to listen, then to give advice.  So step back, and listen.

Just my random thoughts of the day.  I hope everyone is doing well!

Let me know if you have any advice about this topic as well ❤  I would LOVE to hear it. You can comment below!


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2 thoughts on “How To: Listening

  1. Wow. This meant so much to me. Having been on both sides of that conversation (it was God’s plan/time heals). I really see now how much more It meant when someone offered To listen to me rather than telling Me Their “story”. I am saving this as I think everyone (aka me). needs a reminder of this once in a while.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing! I totally agree; it’s amazing how the act of listening can mean so much.


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