Active listening can encourage the other person to talk and express their feelings. Some of the main tips are:
1) Ask open questions
This means questions that don’t have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, questions that start with ‘how’, ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘who’ or ‘why’.
Summarise what you have understood: “So you’re saying that you feel like an outsider when everyone else but you is drinking?”
Just repeating a word or phrase can encourage them to carry on talking: “Yes, it’s difficult.”
Ask for more details: “Tell me more about that”, “How exactly did that happen?”
5) Give words of encouragement
“Go on”, “Ah, I see”.
6) Leave quiet moments
Don’t feel you have to fill the silence. Staying quiet while keeping your attention on them can encourage them to say something else.
Show that you’ve understood how they are feeling: “That’s really hard”, “It must be very difficult to cope with that”.
8) Use non-verbal encouragement
Smiling, responding to their feelings with facial expressions or mirroring their facial expressions and keeping eye contact shows that they have your full attention.