SHUSH listening tip 2: Have patience

It may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up.

Have patience

Time is key when listening to someone. The person sharing shouldn’t feel rushed, or they won’t feel it’s a safe environment. If the other person has paused in their response, wait. They may not have finished speaking. Remember it might take them some time to formulate what they are saying, or they may find it difficult to articulate how they are feeling. Effective listening is about trusting the other person.

They trust you to listen and not to judge, you trust them to try to describe feelings, whether directly or indirectly, through language, body language or subtext. All conversations are open to interpretation and through non-judgemental listening, you are allowing the person to relax into the conversation and to use it as a place to reflect or work through difficult emotions.


Once a person pauses I count to three in my head. This gives them time to elaborate further if they need to. It also shows you are thinking about what they are saying which will hopefully give them confidence to keep talking.

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Have patience - the second of Samaritans' listening tips