This Wall Street Journal article resonated with me and reminded me of a great comment I heard recently. It was my sometimes wise husband Stevie who told one of our kids, “There’s a reason you were born with two ears and one mouth.” He was stressing to them the relative importance of listening over talking. The key message, Talk Less, Listen More, applies to life in general, and especially to those challenging situations when we struggle with how to best support a friend who’s going through a difficult time. While the WSJ article focuses on depression, the information is very relevant for grief as well. Rather than letting our fear of doing or saying the wrong thing paralyze us, this article reminds us that simply being present and listening is often the most helpful thing we can do for a friend who is suffering. Don’t feel the need to solve the problem. Don’t offer lame cliches in an attempt to minimize the pain. Acknowledge the situation for what it is (difficult, unfortunate, etc) and then just listen.
Talk Less, Listen More
About the Author: Emily Janowsky
I live in Marin County, California with my husband and two sons. I spent twenty years working in financial services, but after my mom's death in 2011, I decided to "retire" to spend more time with my boys. For me, writing is a creative outlet as well as hopefully a way to be of service to others. Follow me on Twitter @emilyjano