How to be a Good Listener

A brief guide

When they say, “I’m upset,” do not say, “Calm down.”

An empathetic person would tell you that calm down is code for You’re upset and/or being irrational and I don’t care enough right now to deal with it.

When they say, “I’m depressed,” do not say, “Have you tried ____?”

Do not take their opening up as an opportunity to extol the virtues of transcendental meditation or Omega 3 supplements or claim that mental health issues are mind-over-matter.

When they say, “I’m feeling really anxious,” do not say, “You’re fine. Stop worrying.”

Do not tell them there’s nothing to worry about, unless they have specifically asked you to tell them that.

There may very well be nothing to worry about — and they may logically understand that — but that doesn’t change the fact they they are anxious.

When they say, “I’m having insomnia again,” do not say, “Drink less caffeine” or “Turn off your phone an hour before bed.” What works for you will not necessarily works for others.

When they say, “I love you,” say “Thank you.”

When they say, “I need your help,” say “What can I do?”

When they say, “I love you,” say “I love you,” but only if you mean it.