This is a blog post that is more directed at my male readers of this blog, but pertains to everyone. I say men more because as men we seem to be hard-wired to ‘fix’ things. Someone shares a problem with us, we start to go into the “what can I do to fix it” mode. Sometimes that is not what people are looking for. Sometimes they just need us to be present. Try picking out someone you care about. Schedule a lunch, coffee or get together with them.
When you get together with them trying spending those hours, or day or whatever time you have just being totally present. If it is a phone call, try staying totally focused on what they are telling you. Often in conversations people listen with an intent to respond instead of understanding. So listen to hear what they are saying. Don’t offer advice unless they ask. Focus the entire time on the other person. Halfway through their story do not start thinking of a story you have that is similar, just listen to theirs. It is a difficult change in behavior, but it is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone.