Friendships are where you have built a platonic relationship with someone. It’s where a person is there for someone, shares similar beliefs and hobbies but also is their own person outside of the friendship.
They allow you to have connections with others, share memories with each other, and become less isolated, among other things as well. Having healthy relationships with your friends can help improve your mental health.
Part of having a healthy relationship with your friends is being able to listen to them. This allows you to be open, where you can talk to each other about how you are feeling, your needs and wants from each and so on.
How can you listen to a friend?
Allow them to speak
Giving your friend the time and the space to speak about what is on their mind can allow your friend to feel appreciated. Be patient and don’t pressure them into saying something they don’t want to share.
Ask questions about what they are telling you, as well as repeat what they have said so they know that you are actually listening. However, make sure to check whether they want you to give advice or be the person they can just rant to.
Walk by their side
Make sure that they know that you are going to be there through thick and thin. Check in on them and ask them what they need from you on a regular basis. Be that person that they feel comfortable with to come to talk to you about anything.
Listen to yourself
It can be difficult to be that support for someone else, so make sure to look after yourself as well. Set your boundaries with your friend so they know not to cross any lines with you but also be open and honest with them as well about what your challenges are.
Friendships are a two way relationship so make sure that you both are able to listen to each other without invalidating each other’s experiences and feelings. Remember that not one experience is more or less valid than another. If it’s affecting your friend, then it should also matter to you.