Successful Relationships Reading Corner
This week we wrote about how you can best be supportive and help other people. These articles discuss this topic from various points of view.
How to Be Emotionally Supportive “It’s not enough to simply ask questions. Listening actively, or empathically, is another important part of providing emotional support. When you really listen to someone, you give them your full attention. Show interest in their words by: displaying open body language, like turning your body toward them, relaxing your face, or keeping your arms and legs uncrossed, avoiding distractions, like playing with your phone or thinking about other things you need to do, nodding along with their words or making noises of agreement instead of interrupting asking for clarification when you don’t understand something summarizing what they’ve said to show you have a good grasp of the situation. Using good listening skills shows others you care about what they’re going through. For someone who’s struggling, knowing that someone else has heard their pain can make a big difference.”
Formula for Providing Emotional Support “As someone who researches and teaches what makes emotional support effective, hands down the number one question people ask me is, “What do I say?” There are so many moments, large and small, when someone we love is in pain or upset and our natural desire is to help. Yet, for many of us, when someone comes to us, we pause, wondering how to best respond. Or, we go to what we know best—we offer advice. Unfortunately, advice as a go-to strategy for when a loved one is upset usually backfires. Research shows that while most people offer advice, men and women both overwhelmingly want emotional support. And although there isn’t one “right” message you can employ when someone is upset, there are behaviors you can use that will make your attempts much more successful.”
The Importance of Supporting Each Other in a Relationship “Being supportive does not mean doing anything for your partner that makes us uncomfortable. It doesn’t also necessarily mean that we need to try and solve other people’s issues. Part of being supportive is to be really present and a good listener, to not constantly stand in judgment and actually have a sincere and caring disposition. To really hear and understand what the other person is communicating and not allowing our own stuff to get in the way. When someone truly loves and supports you, they will challenge you, stand beside you when you need them and give you space to be yourself and grow as a person.”