Have you ever had a problem and needed to vent or just share what you were dealing with?
When you are in this situation, are you always necessarily looking for advice, input, or counsel?
If you are like most people, probably not.
So why is it that when people come to us with their problems or challenges, we feel the need to (and perhaps the pressure to) respond, solve, or advise?
. . . and . . .
closing your mouth.
Don’t feel that you must have a solution.
Don’t feel you have to respond.
Just . . . let . . . them . . . talk.
That might be all they need or want.
If you want to be more empathetic, start by just listening. After they have shared their thoughts and feelings completely, then you can ask if they want or need input. Then you can ask followup questions. Then you can see what else you can do to support them.
Often, there won’t be anything else they want or that you need to do. By being silent and just listening, you have given them exactly what they need.
And all of that comes after you are quiet.
So just be quiet. Your presence may be all they need. Your acknowledgement may mean more than your answers.