Venting Feelings in Time of Crisis
In time of trouble and crisis many people need someone who will just listen. Talking about the experience is therapeutic because the burden seems a little lighter and easier to bear.
If you find yourself called upon to listen to a neighbor who just wants to talk, LISTEN. Don't think you have to come up with solutions and answers. Just listen and let the troubled person talk. He needs to air his feelings.
Above all, if your neighbor needs to break down and cry--let him. It has built up in his system and he needs to release his feelings of sadness.
Some people will feel very much alone and afraid; others will ask, "Why me?" They are not really looking for an answer to that question but rather are saying, "How can I endure this?" and "How can I go on?"
After you have listened, offer the reassurance and encouragement from the warmth of friendship.
J. Van Horn, Prof.-Family Sociology Extension Specialist Ag. Economics and Rural Sociology, Penn State