Listening is the greatest gift you can give.  Listening takes time,
patience, and courage.  Advice tends to be easy, quick, cheap and
wrong.    

Listening means:
  >Giving full attention         
  >Not interrupting         
  >Not rushing judgment or condemnation         
  >Taming your own inner fears about what is being said.
  >Using [1]empathy statements:  I am sorry that happened...
    I bet that hurt... Sounds like that was difficult...   

Other Ideas for Helping a Friend:

Don't say, "I know exactly how you feel" cause you don't, you are not
in their shoes.  No two situations no matter how similar are the same.   
      
You don't have to have all the answers, avoid fixing, and you don't need
fancy words.  Be yourself and just be present.         

Sometimes your friend may need more help, say, "Will you go with me
to see so and so (parent, teacher, counselor, pastor, etc...) " or "Will
you let me help you make an appointment with ?"   


If you suspect, or someone talks of
suicide or self-destructive
behaviors, do not keep it a secret.  Tell adults that can help.  Secrets
kill.   Focus on solutions to problems and suggest that better
alternatives can be found.   Also, Offer hope of any kind.  
Demonstrate care by sending a note, card, text message, hug, etc...  
Actions speak louder than words.

      
Sometimes it is good just to be together doing something, like playing
a board game, window shopping, shooting baskets, renting movies, going
for a walk, etc.  Remember, laughter is healing.

[1] Empathy - understanding the feelings of another person.  Having compassion.  
Feeling as they would.  Empathy is not sympathy.  Sympathy is feeling sorry for
someone.
How to Help a Friend in Crisis
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