The best way to help…

"Brant Burleson, a researcher at Purdue University,
set up some experiments to find out just what does work, and
what doesn’t. What he discovered may surprise you.

You don’t have to offer advice. In fact,
you probably shouldn’t, according to Burleson’s studies.

When someone is unloading his troubles,
most of the things we most naturally want to do to help him will
not help him. For example, it doesn’t help much to tell your
friend about similar troubles you’ve had, or to try to help him
look on the bright side, or to try to change the subject. What
actually helps the listener is surprisingly simple and easy:
Encourage your friend to describe his trouble in great detail.
And make sure you include, as part of that detail, descriptions
of your friend’s feelings.

That’s it. Most people can pretty much
figure out what they ought to do once they think about it a little
bit, and that’s exactly what you’re allowing him to do: Think."

Source: http://www.youmeworks.com/cc4.html

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