How to Listen Like You Care But Not Like You Have Advice

It can be tough to listen to your friends troubles without having much to offer them in terms of advice. Sure, just being there for them and acting as a shoulder to cry on can still be really helpful, but how do you know you aren’t giving them the wrong idea that you actually have something to say? If you find yourself in this situation, then here’s some tips on how to listen like you care but not like you have any actual advice.


Nod and say “mhmm” — but not too much.

Active listening is key in any social interaction, especially when you and your friend are having a heart-to-heart. That’s why it’s super important to signal you’re listening by nodding or saying “mhmm” to show that you’re taking in information, but be careful not to do it too much or else your friend might actually think you’re eager to say something that’ll actually help them out!


Use phrases like “Wow, I can’t imagine,” or “That sounds really difficult.”

Saying little phrases like this emphasizes the fact that you care about what your friend is going through, but also that you have no idea how to help them or offer any good advice about it. This way you can actually say something back to your friend while still not saying anything at all, really!




Suggest they see a therapist instead.

If you feel like your friend needs concrete advice about their issues that you simply can’t provide for them, then try telling them that they should seek out professional help instead. They might be slightly offended when you say this at first, but at the end of the day, a therapist’s advice is probably way better than yours ever could be.


We all wish that we could give advice to our friends whenever they’re in need, but unfortunately this just isn’t the case. So next time your friend comes to you with a problem, try using the tips above to show that you care while not really giving them anything they could use to feel better about it!