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What response do you want from someone you're confiding in/telling a funny anecdote to?(7 Posts)
What response do you want from someone you're confiding in/telling a funny anecdote to?
I always feel anxious like I have to respond with creative interesting dialogue or they'll regret telling me and would rather have told someone else. Is it true that just nodding and listening is enough for you?
Are the responses you expect from someone different depending on if you're confiding a problem with them (e.g. tough time at home) compared to a random anecdote of something that happened to you that wasn't sad or problematic?
Do you generally want someone's gentle advice / potential solution or really just someone to nod and listen?
What's the best response if I want to become your friend basically? I know each person is different but please tell me your views on this. There's so many varied people on here I'm sure I can somewhat get a general population sample.
It depends entirely on what they’re telling you. How can anyone answer this without knowing the specific conversation?
Confidences - showing empathy / potentially sharing similar experiences (without taking over) / unlikely to want advice unless asked explicitly.
Funny anecdote - a laugh/smile, rewarding acknowledging words like "that's brilliant!" or whatnot as long as reasonably genuine , potentially sharing one of your own.
Tactful gentle questions might be appropriate. I think smiling and nodding are good starts, plus the sort of noises/facial expressions people make when they're showing they're engaged and listening, but it doesn't go too far in continuing/extending the conversation.
Eye contact, surprised eyebrows, expectant smile.
One of my favourite non judgemental, interested responses for a happy anecdote is: "Did you really???" in a delighted / conspiratorial sort of tone.
For a sad anecdote, "Gosh that sounds so hard" is usually good. Being silent after that is OK. You don't have to fill silence, particularly when someone is feeling sad.
Never give advice unless the person actually asks something like, "what would you do in my situation?" or "what do you think?". Even then, tread carefully. Mostly, people just want to feel that you know how they feel. "I would find that situation very confusing/hard" "That would be upsetting!" "I'd really have to think that through to be honest, it would be difficult to know what to do.". etc.
Thanks a lot for the helpful responses so far
I never offer advice, unless I really feel I have something of value to add and then I'll ask 'would my advice be welcome, or have you had enough'
One good one for if someone's telling you something difficult or an odd situation is 'wow.. How did you feel about that?' or 'has this been on your mind a lot?'
Also, if you're not sure, you can ask 'would you like my help, or is it just helpful to talk? Either is fine' and also 'I'm pleased you talked to me about it'.
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