Listening is the most important part of showing emotional support. Avoid expressing any opinions until you’ve heard the whole story. Even then, ask questions and help the person make their own decisions. If you weigh in, it’s important to be honest. 

There is no ‘right’ kind of support, but effective support is based on being authentic and genuine in your actions and words. According to,  being authentic means saying or doing what feels natural and genuine instead of searching for the right thing to say. Demonstrating genuine concern means far more to your loved ones than saying something that sounds inauthentic. 

Effective, authentic, compassionate outreach to others involves practicing the following 5 points:

  1. Respect boundaries - Understand the other person’s limits and readiness to share.

  2. Comfort is critical - Provide a space in which the person feels comfortable sharing feelings.  

  3. Safety is key - Create an environment where the person feels safe with you.

  4. Actively listen - Know that listening and responding are critical communication skills.

  5. Reserve judgment - Remember that the support you offer is entirely about the other person.