The 5 golden rules of listening

Kelly McGill breaks down the key things needed to be a good listener

Written by Kelly McGill


If there is one thing that all friends feel like they are great at it is listening. It doesn’t seem to be something you could really fail at, or could you? Many times friends or even family members might come to you to lend an ear, maybe for a minute maybe for an hour. 

You might find that your friend has brought you to Starbucks to go on a rant about a family member or even just to catch up on things, but one thing you should always remember, lending an ear is a top skill to being a friend.

Here are five golden rules when it comes to listening

Body language is important

You might think this is crazy, but your body language tells a story in itself! Slouching and having your arms crossed can come across as you don’t really want to be in the situation or that you are really uninterested. Things like making eye contact and smiling can make your friend feel more at ease.

Let them finish

There is nothing worse when you are spilling your heart out to someone, and they cut into what you are saying. As they say patience is a virtue! Let your friend get everything off their chest. When they are looking for your input they will stop and let you know.

Don’t ever say that you have been in a worse situation

Your friend has come to you because they need help or even advice on a period of their life they are finding difficult. Try to refrain from speaking about people who have been in worse situations before, including you! As this can lead to the whole conversation being changed dramatically into you talking about yourself.

Ask the right questions

Questions such as “Is that all?” or “I thought this was something serious?” is the worst thing you could ever say. The best questions to ask are the ones that can clarify the situation. However remember don’t just keep asking questions.

Stick that phone on silent

One thing that people tend to do in every conversation is look at their phone. Whether it is a Snapchat, Facebook notification or your mam asking you to pick up bread on the way home. If you have your phone out from the get go you have already failed at listening. So turn the phone off or stick it on silent, you won’t miss out on much! 

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