Tips for Befriending

What do you do if you see a friend, family member or classmate is feeling badly? Something seems to be bothering him or her. How can you help? What can you do?

The first step in being a good befriender is to listen. At The Samaritans, we say it’s 90% listening and only 10% talking. After you have finished listening, it might be helpful to ask, “Of all things you’ve talked about tell me what’s bothering you the most.” You might be surprised at what you learn by being nonjudgmental and a good listener.

Here are a few helpful tips.

It’s Helpful to…

LISTEN! Use y our head and your ears.

Pay attention.

Ask about their feelings.

Be patient.

Be polite. Don’t interrupt. Let them finish saying what they have to say.

Observe the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

Give them a chance to solve their own problems.

Put yourself in their shoes (It’s called empathy).

Talk with a trusted family member, friend, doctor, teacher, counselor, a member of your faith based community… somebody!

It’s not Helpful to…

Do most of the talking yourself.

Pretend to be interested.

Laugh at their problem or tell them to get over it.

Tell them how they should feel.

Keep looking at your watch.

Interrupt or finish their sentences for them.

Argue or be judgmental.

Give advice and try to fix the problem on your own.

Start to feel sorry for them (It’s called pity).

Keep it all to yourself when the problem is too big to handle.

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