You may not feel useful comforting someone who is feeling sad. Most of the time, nothing can be done physically to help another person. However, the most important thing you can do is be available and willing to listen.
Part 1 of 3: Knowing what to say
Step 1. Start a conversation
Let that person know that you know that they are sad and that you are willing to listen to them. If you don't know her very well, identify why you want to help her.
- For example, if you know this person, you can say, “I see you are having a difficult time. Do you want to talk about it?". If he doesn't want your company, there will be no problem. You shouldn't force her to be with you if she doesn't want to!
- If you don't know that person very well, you can say “Hi, my name is Jean. I also study here and I have seen you crying. I know I'm a stranger but, if you like, I can listen to you about why you are sad. "
Step 2. Talk about the matter as it is
That is, if you know what is wrong, you are likely to be tempted to think about it. You may not want to bring up the problem if it involves the death of a loved one or the breakdown of your love relationship so you don't hurt their feelings further. However, the person knows what is wrong and probably thinks about it. Asking her about it, in no uncertain terms, will show her that you care about her and are willing to talk about it as such, without sugarcoating it, which may end up being a relief.
For example, you can say something like, “I found out that your father has passed away. That must have been very hard. Do you want to talk about it?"
Step 3. Ask him how he feels
One way to get the conversation going with that person is to ask how they are feeling. Whatever the situation, even in sad moments, people experience more than just one emotion, so it helps to let each of them express themselves.
For example, it is clear that that person will feel sad if one of their parents has died after a long and complicated illness. However, you may also feel relieved that it is all over and a little guilty for feeling that way
Step 4. Keep your attention on that person
It's tempting to compare your situation to something you've experienced in the past. However, if you are sad, you don't necessarily want to hear it. You will want to talk about what is happening in the present.
Step 5. Don't try to make the conversation instantly turn positive
A natural tendency is to want to help him feel better by making him see the bright side. However, if you do so, it may feel like you are overlooking what is wrong. That is, you may feel that your feelings are not important. Just listen to her without trying to show her the bright side of things.
- For example, avoid saying things like "Well, at least you're still alive," "It's not that bad," or "Cheer up!"
- Instead, if you must say something, try sentences like, "It's okay to feel bad because you're having a hard time."
Part 2 of 3: Learning to Listen Carefully
Step 1. Understand that this person will want you to listen to them
Most of the time, people who are crying or sad just need someone to listen to them. Don't try to talk about that person or offer solutions.
You may be able to offer solutions before the conversation ends, but not at the beginning. Focus on listening to it
Step 2. Show that you understand
One way to listen carefully is to repeat what that person says. That is, you can mention “What I understood was that you are sad because your friend did not pay attention to you”.
Step 3. Don't get distracted
Keep the conversation focused on that person. Turn off the TV and keep your eyes away from the cell phone.
Part of being focused is also not daydreaming. Also, don't just sit around thinking about what to say next. Really listen to what he is saying to you
Step 4. Use your body language to show that you are listening
That is, make eye contact with that person, nod while telling you something, smile at the appropriate times, or show concern by frowning.
Also, keep your body language open. That is, do not cross your arms or legs. Point your body towards that person
Part 3 of 3: End the conversation
Step 1. Acknowledge when you can't help
Most people feel unable to help when a friend is going through a difficult situation. It is natural and you may not know what to say to that person. However, just acknowledging them, and telling them that you are there for them, is enough.
For example, you can say, “I'm sorry you're going through this. I don't really know what to say to make you feel better nor do I know what words could actually do it. However, I want you to know that I am here for you if you need me”
Step 2. Offer a hug
If you feel comfortable doing this, offer a hug. However, it is always best to ask first as some people may not feel comfortable with physical contact, especially if they have experienced some type of trauma.
You can say, for example, “I would like to give you a hug. Would you like it?"
Step 3. Ask about what he will do next
Although there is not always a solution to what is bothering a person, sometimes just making a plan can help them feel better. So you may be able to kindly offer solutions at this point in case they don't have any ideas. If he has any, encourage him to talk about it and plan what he will want to do next.
Step 4. Have her consider going to therapy
If your friend is going through a lot of trouble, it's okay to ask if he or she has considered going to a therapist. Unfortunately, going to a therapist comes with a lot of social stigma. However, if that person has been having problems for a long time, it may help to talk to someone who knows what they are doing professionally.
The stigma that exists about going to a therapist is, of course, unfair. You may need to convince your friend that there is nothing wrong with going to one. You will help combat this stigma by letting them know that you will see them the same way you always do even when they need a little help
Step 5. Ask if you can do something
You may be able to help that person, whether they want to talk weekly or just want to go out for lunch once in a while. You can also help him through difficult times by, for example, supporting him when he obtains a death certificate for a loved one. Just start a conversation with him or her to find out if he or she needs something in particular.
If that person seems unsure about asking for your help, give them concrete suggestions. For example, you can say, “I would like to be able to help you. I can take you anywhere or I can get you something to eat. Just tell me if you need my help. "
Step 6. Be sincere
If you offer to help in any way, make sure you are willing to do so. For example, if you say "Feel free to call me at any time," you must really be willing to drop whatever you are doing to talk to him or her. Likewise, if you offer to do something, like take that person to therapy, really follow through by showing up to do it.
Step 7. Check again
Most people have trouble communicating with someone when they need help, especially emotionally. So don't forget to check from time to time if you need it. It is important to be available in case you need help.