My 18 y/o friend is her school’s unofficial guidance counsellor😁

  1. Recognising when to help
  2. How to comfort well
  3. How to listen well
  4. How to encourage others
  5. How to build trust

#1 Recognising when to help

  • “Hey, how have you been recently?”
  • “Are you tired today?”
  • “How are things back home?”
  • “How are things at school?”
  • In that case, ask direct questions: “I noticed ______ and I’m really concerned about you and I really want to help.”
  • People can be nervous in person. If they don’t want to talk, let them know they can text you at a later time.

#2 How to comfort well

  • “I’m so sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do to help?”
  • “I’m really sorry that happened to you”
  • “I can’t believe ____ did that. I don’t know what they were thinking.”
  • “I can see how that causes a lot of pain.”
  • “Have you had this happen in the past?”
  • “When did it start?”
  • “How are you dealing with this right now?”
  • “Have you talked to anyone else about this?”
  • “It’s okay to express your emotions. You can let it out.”
  • Quietly talk to them alone if they’re crying.
  • Offer to give them space: “Don’t worry if you need some time alone. I’ll make sure you can have some space.”
  • It can help to ‘double-check’ that you understand their issue beforehand: “It sounds like the issue is _____?” If they say yes, then proceed.
  • “I’m so sorry for being insensitive in saying _____.”
  • “I’m sorry, I just realised I’ve been really hard on you. Saying _____ was uncalled for.”

#3 How to Listen Well

  • Say back what you heard
  • Ask followups
  • Remind yourself not to think about what to say next
  • Nod your head
  • Say/text tiny affirmations: “Uh-hm. What? Really? I’m so sorry.”

#4 How to encourage others

  • If they’re usually shy, it’s okay if they don’t respond to compliments.
  • If they’re usually outgoing but start being awkward, ask if you said something wrong.
  • If they used to be excited about _____ and are now demotivated, remind them what motivated them to start with.
  • “How could we make that better?”
  • “Can we break down that problem?”
  • “Maybe we could focus on one part of that issue?”

#5 How to Build Trust

  • “Have you also experienced something like this?”
  • Past connections build comfort. Ex: “Wow, we both did Girl Scouts!”
  • Present connections build understanding. Ex: “Yeah, I’ve also been having work stress spill over at home.”
  • Future connections build excitement. Ex: “I’m dreaming so much about living like an adult in university!”
  • “I really appreciate you trusting me enough to talk about this.”
  • “You’ve been really brave in sharing all this. Thank you.”
  • “I think it’s so important that you’re looking for new solutions instead of giving up.”
  • Before giving advice, say: “I was thinking of how to help you with ______ and…”
  • “I know this sounds unnatural, but I want to be honest with you. I actually think _____.”

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