Jas writes about her approach to befriending and how she uses her listening skills to make a real difference.
I have been a telephone befriender for just over a year. I joined just after the pandemic started and I soon realised it was really making a difference. Naturally this year has been more difficult than most due to the pandemic and having that telephone call has helped my client feel a little less lonely. Befriending helped me remember I am a good listener and then I can keep a calm head even in difficult circumstances.
At times I have been able to draw on my own life experience and challenges with mental health to relate to my client and this seemed to really help. I have enjoyed speaking to my client also as she has lived a long and varied life and is very interesting. Being understanding and non-judgmental is an important part of being a befriender. The more I have spoken to my client, the more I have been able to pick up on changes in her mood or behaviour. Taking an interest in my client’s life has been really important, such as remembering activities or friends she has mentioned previously. People feel really valued when they have felt listened to, accepted and understood.