speak -Keeps their own problems out of it -Limits their personal stories -Offers encouraging words -Is realistic (doesn’t give false hope) -Is honest when a problem is too great for them to handle themselves (suggests professional help at the right time) -Is non-judgmental and keeps their own political and religious beliefs out of it, unless asked for their opinion on those topics -Does not pry for more information (this includes asking the name/age of who you are speaking) -Let’s the other person talk at their own rate and finish before they jump into it
be familiar with the problems that people will face in their daily life and how they can cope with them in a healthy way. • You are expected to always be open-minded and to never jump to conclusions nor offer advice on a subject that you know little about • You are expected to find valid resources when helping others in addition to talking about personal experiences • Above all, you are expected to speak to others with compassion and respect
encounter many venters that are suicidal or experiencing suicidal thoughts. • As much as it is a scary subject, it is also one that requires a lot of attention and patience. Patience is key, along with compassion.
is suicidal: – Do not dare them to commit suicide – Do not say “If you do it, I’ll do it”, as this is considered a suicide pact. Suicide pacts are very dangerous and can result in multiple unintended deaths, also called a suicide chain reaction. – Do not argue with them – Do not offer ways to solve their problems, or make them feel like they have to justify their suicidal feelings
is suicidal: – Be yourself, and let him/her know that they’re not alone – Listen, and do not interrupt. Give them your full attention – Offer hope, and let them know that help is available to them – Remind them that suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem – Have patience, be calm, and accepting – Find the suicide hotline for their area and give it to them
know how to come out to anyone, and I’m afraid” • When you get a venter who is “in the closet”, be sure to have a lot of patience and compassion for them. Their life is changing greatly by coming out. • Make sure to tell them how brave it is for them to be doing this. • Tell them to start small, and with the most important-they could start by telling their closest friends, then parents, and so on. • If they are being bullied, tell them to tell a person of authority (school counselor, boss, etc.)
be lesbian/gay/bisexual/ transgender and I don’t know what to do” • Questioning your sexuality is something most people will experience, but only some will acknowledge. This is especially common in younger teens who are experimenting with their overall sexuality • Let them know that what they’re experiencing is very normal, and that nothing is wrong with them • Have them examine their feelings for different genders, and remind them that they do not need to label their lifestyle, but they will be happier by being themselves
is experiencing sexual orientation issues: – NEVER use any kind of derogatory term (fag, homo, etc.) as that is abuse and not acceptable on CompassionPit – Do not involve your religious/political views, unless asked for them specifically
is experiencing sexual orientation issues: – Be compassionate and let them know they’re not alone – Tell them about any personal experiences you have, but do not direct the conversation towards yourself – Offer helpful advice on coming out and let them know that they will be ultimately happier by being themselves
People self-harm sometimes because of terrible experiences they went through as a child or young adult. At the time, they probably had no one they could trust nor talk to, and needed a different emotional outlet. These experiences vary from abuse to bullying. Not having a way to deal with this pain brings up the idea of self- harm, which is how they cope with their emotional troubles. By self-harming, they feel pain and they feel their pain leaving their bodies, as if their pain is being set free.
self-harms: – NEVER tell them that they should just kill themselves – Do not tell them they’re only doing it for attention – Do not try to make their problems seem not important – Do not belittle them for what they are doing
self-harms: – Talk to them about alternative and healthier coping strategies, such as writing in a journal, doing yoga, screaming into a pillow, using a punching bag, etc. – Ask them why they are cutting and what started it – Suggest calling a hotline that specializes in self-harm issues – Suggest that they talk to a school counselor or therapist about their feelings – Reason with them in a positive light, telling them trying different coping methods may make them happier than causing themselves physical pain – Let them know that their pain is real and deserves attention and time
however they are just as important as the others. • These issues can range anywhere from abuse to having middle school crushes, however they should be treated with the same amount of compassion. • When talking to a venter about relationship issues, a lot of it will be based on your opinion, but you still need to be cautious of what you say.
friends hate each other.” • This is a very sticky situation that is ultimately up to the venter on how they decide to deal with this, but you can still give them suggestions on how to handle this situation • Suggest that the boyfriend/girlfriend’s best friends and their best friends hang out and get to know each other • Tell them that they do not have to choose between one or the other, as it’s just a matter of balancing time • If they’ve been asked to choose, talk to them about how they feel about choosing one or the other and why or why not they’d carry out with it
and I don’t know what to do” • When it comes to infidelity, a person’s life can change forever, as they may develop a series of trust issues afterwards. Treat this issue with extra care, knowing there is a healing process that follows. • Again, it is ultimately up to the venter on this one but there are several questions you can ask them that can hopefully give them the answer they’re looking for: “Do you think you will ever be able to trust your boyfriend/girlfriend again?”, “Is this the first time your boyfriend/girlfriend has cheated? Do you think it might happen again?”, “Is the relationship worth salvaging?” • Let the venter know that is their decision and they should do a lot of reflecting before making a final decision.
is experiencing relationship issues: – Never tell them the issue is their fault – Do not belittle them for making bad decisions – Never say “Just get over it” – Do not get your own relationship issues involved – Never encourage them to cheat on their partner, and never encourage any kind of abuse
is experiencing relationship issues: – Remind them that relationships take time, any problems won’t fix themselves over night – Remind them to have patience and speak from their heart, not from outside influences – If they’ve been cheated on, remind them that it’s not their fault-they didn’t make their partner cheat – If they were the one that cheated, remind them that honesty is the way to go – If they have been physically/sexually/verbally abused, emphasize that they need to talk to some kind of counselor, law enforcement, or someone with power.
and now we’re going to talk about how to make you into the best listener you can be. • Nobody is perfect and we all have our flaws, but we want you to flaunt your strengths and take the time to work on your weaknesses.
– Try to always use correct grammar and spelling. Not only does this make the venter feel like they’re speaking to someone who is educated, it also makes them feel like they’re speaking with someone who is capable of handling problems. – Never randomly disconnect. If you must leave abruptly, politely excuse yourself : “I’m very sorry, but I must go now. I hope things get better for you soon. You may contact me at ______ if you would like” Adding your contact information is ultimately up to you. If you feel like you will not be able to help someone (their problems are too great for you, you’re not familiar with their problems, etc.) again, calmly dismiss yourself “I’m very sorry but I don’t think I would be much help to you. I hope you get connected to someone who is. Have a great day!”
– Report any and all trolls, or anyone who is abusive or rude. You are donating your time to help others, not to be treated poorly. – Never talk down to someone because of their age. Everyone’s problems are valid. – Do not use chat lingo such as “asl”-If you want to know someone’s gender or age, politely ask. “May I ask how old you are?” – Take breaks from listening. It’s fantastic that you want to help others, but you also need to think of you own mental health. A nice break will refresh you and prepare you to help others the best you can.
do appreciate hearing how you can relate to what they are going through, but leave it at that. You can say “I know how you feel” and give a brief description why, but ultimately you are on the listening side and not the venting side for a reason. – Try to keep your personal religious and political beliefs out of the conversation. If your religion is against homosexuality, do not preach to a homosexual venter. If your religious/political beliefs get in the way of have an effective listening session, kindly dismiss yourself and move onto another venter.
again – It’s always appreciated when a venter can speak to a listener again that they had a great conversation with. Sometimes a venter or listener will get disconnected in the middle of a session, or someone has to go. If you’re disconnected, post in the “Missed Connections” forum in an attempt to speak with the venter again. If you’re given time to say goodbye, provide them with your username on the forum or an email address where they can contact you again. – Obviously if you did not have a pleasant conversation or do not wish to speak with a certain venter again, do not give them any information. – Always be SMART when giving others information about yourself on the internet! Don’t go giving out home addresses or phone numbers.
appreciated more than a listener that quickly types back instead of taking a few minutes to realize they have a new message. Give your venter your undivided attention, and they will respect you even more. – Don’t try to listen to a venter when you’re very busy, stressed, or tired. Only listen when you can give a venter all of your attention and you can focus solely on them.
is better than listening to a venter that is going through something you know a lot about. If you’ve never personally experienced what the venter has gone through, try to educate yourself on their issues. We’ve already covered the most common issues that are heard on CompassionPit, but as we all know, there are many more out there. Take the time to look up a few articles (make sure they are reliable sources) and educate yourself on what they are experiencing, so you can provide better help for them.
that are directly affecting their daily life, it may be a good idea to suggest they seek professional help. • Let them know that there is nothing to be ashamed of by seeking help; it doesn’t make them weak, it means they’re strong enough to want to change their lives for the better.
they have ever considered seeking professional help, and why they are for/against it. Remind them that only a trained professional can give them the answers they are looking for. – If they are still in school, suggest they see their school’s counselor first for suggestions on if they need to see a psychiatrist/therapist. – If they are out of school, suggest they call their insurance company to find out what offices they can go to.
could potentially help a venter who is going through something that you cannot successfully help them with on your own. • Always make sure the links you’re giving a venter are valid and have valuable information. Refrain from using sites like wikipedia, as anyone can post on these websites and the information isn’t always correct.
bookmarking these for future reference: – Find hotlines for venters contemplating suicide: http://www.suicidehotlines.com/ – RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, and National Network): http://rainn.org/ – The Trevor Project, support for LGBTQ youth: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ – To Write Love On Her Arms, support for self- harm: http://www.twloha.com/
time to read through all of the information. • Following this presentation is a quiz that you must take based on everything that we talked about. • In order to continue being a listener, you must pass this quiz. • Good luck, and from all of us at CompassionPit, thank you for your time and dedication!