Here are 5 things you should know.
1. Active Listening, a technique developed by the Samaritans to help people to talk through difficult subjects.
Active listening may be the most important skills you ever learn. The Samaritans (a UK-based mental health charity) developed it to talk down suicidal people, but you can use it for any situation where you feel like a friend needs to get something off their chest. Please consult the Samaritan’s guide to their technique first and foremost.
When someone tries to open up to you, sometimes the first instinct is to be passive. You care about what they’re saying, so you just wait for them to speak and tell you about it. For some people, that’ll work. But for some people, if you don’t react they’ll think you’re not interested. The other extreme is to contribute too much. In your panic to help, out of your mouth comes “That’s awful what are you going to do my sister’s great aunt killed herself but you’re better than that” Active listening tries to find the happy medium between these two options.
This technique is about making someone feel important like you want to hear what they’re saying.
First, use “w” words. What made you think that/why did you do that/ how did that make you feel/when did you start feeling this way/ who made you feel worst.
It’s their story. To encourage them to tell it to you, rephrase their statements. Parrot. If someone tells you “5 years ago I was bullied constantly. Now I can’t seem to move on”; there are two strands of that sentence they want to talk about. What the bullying meant for them, and why they can’t seem to forget it. To tease those strands, answer with,
“How were you bullied?”
“Why can’t you move on?”
Make the noises You know the ones. Mhmm, Yes, I see. If they’re on a roll, don’t slow them down by making them think you’re not interested. Similarly, focus on their every word. You are their audience, you care about them so by god you will keep eye contact even if it kills you.
Using your best judgment, insert your own story. This is totally situation dependent. You will know if they want to rant or if they don’t know how to express it. If they want to rant, encourage them with the handy tips above or suggested by the Samaritans’ website (seriously, check that thing out!). If they’re afraid of how to phrase it, use a personal story and immediately bounce it back to them.
Think of it as tennis. If they smash the ball to you, hit it straight back. They’ve got the confidence they need. If they weakly lob it to you, send it back with your own spin on it. “My brother was also bullied, he confided in me. Did you confide in anyone until now?”
Make them think you care. Sometimes it’s a hugely emotional situation and the above tips will never be as useful as a big hug. Hugs are incredible. But my advice would be to hug from the shoulders, not the arms and be comforting without being stifling.
Remember each person is different so the way you talk to people should depend on your personal knowledge of them if you call someone a pet name, use it. If the person has a more logical turn of mind, gingerly steer the conversation towards what you think is a logical solution. If all they need is to vent without judgment, do not offer advice!!
Memorise your local suicide hotline. Trust me on this, the professionals should always be consulted if the person you’re talking to is willing to chat with them.
You are not a substitute for a professional. ‘Nuff said.
DESIRE, METHOD, DATE. If someone is suicidal, use this method to establish the threat they pose to themselves. If they want to die, they know how to die, and they know when to die, take immediate action. Even just one or two of these factors could lead to someone being pushed over the edge by life events and instantly decide to commit.
This is important. IF SOMEONE IS CONFIDING IN YOU NEVER DISMISS IT. Even a joke can be a cry for help so never discount worrying information based on the tone it’s said in.
It’s a positive thing if someone wants to confide in you. They care about you enough to share a difficult part of their life. Congratulations if you are confined in, and good luck.
American Suicide Prevention website https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org and hotline 919-231-4525
More lines can be found here, for your calling pleasure https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines
2. donotpay is a robot lawyer that helps people challenge incorrect parking fines and apply for emergency housing.
It works if you live in big cities in the USA. It also works for the resident of the UK.
3. Lifetime guarantees/warranties apply to the lifetime of the product, not your lifetime.
4. Giving anything less than a perfect score on a customer service/experience survey is considered a fail.
Not many people realize this when filling out these surveys. If you are happy with the service, then give them a perfect score. If you don’t, the survey is marked against them and you may as well have given them all zeros.