Speak kindly to a person in trouble. Every word matters. Hurtful words damage. Beware of telling someone what they want to hear. Make eye contact with all people you meet and watch out for body language too. Accentuating a gesture adds truth to what you are saying. Making physical contact is so very important when talking to someone who is ill and/or very upset. When talking to a psychologist or a psychiatrist in a psychiatric hospital when trying in vain to help my son, I so wished that someone, even a social worker, would put her hand on my arm – which would have been so comforting.
It helped when someone smiled at me to let their faces show what they were thinking. I found the tones of their voices of the utmost importance too. There are people who are extremely sensitive to raised voices but that could be due to their cultural backgrounds. It is not sufficient to look at someone in trouble and give them the feeling that you are listening. REALLY listening and absorbing is what counts. And, last but not least – what we say is important, but of even more importance, is how we say it.