DO YOU want people to think you’re understanding and sensitive even though you tuned out during the first sentence? Try these tips:
Maintain eye contact, but not in a psychopathic way
Looking someone in the eye demonstrates you’re paying attention to them, even if you’re secretly wondering if the duck on The Masked Singer is actually Pope Francis. However, if you stare too intently they’ll worry that you’re planning to skin and wear them.
Don’t look at your phone
Checking your phone whilst someone is pouring out their heart and soul is definitely rude. However, if they go into a particularly intense bout of sobbing and you hug them, you’ve probably got a good 30 seconds to check Twitter over their shoulder without them noticing.
Make encouraging noises
When you notice a natural gap in their excruciatingly dull monologue, fill it with something short and generic like ‘I can’t believe you had to go through that.’ That should be all it takes to spur them on to a further 40 minutes while you daydream about the hot person on your commute.
Leave your own problems out of it
Other people’s problems are agonisingly dull whereas your own are fascinating. However, comparing their dad’s serious illness to your car needing a new clutch is insensitive. Keep quiet about your own worries and they’ll think you’re the most wonderful, caring person.
Pretend you aren’t judging them even though you definitely are
If someone tells you something so terrible or weird about themselves that you can’t help but start listening, don’t say anything judgemental. Wait until they’re out of the room and then text a mutual friend immediately with all the gossip.