Ok. First of all, this is not a dating site! In fact you will probably be paired up with someone with the same sex (your sexual orientation is also taken into account). So join in only if you feel like giving – because that is really the only way that this is going to work.
So what happens?
After you sign up, you get paired up with 2 people and are assigned a role with each of them. Your first role will be that of the “listener” and your second role is that of the “partner”.
The Listener: As a listener your role is to be the one that makes first contact and offer to listen to your partner about his/hers life. You are given their preferred way of contacting and YOU make the first move.
All you need to do is introduce yourself and tell them that you would be happy to spend 30-40 minutes once or twice each week – The rules are flexible at this point, but don’t overdo it. Because it will loose efficacy, will seem too pushy and you will be hearing the same things over and over. Allow for life events to accumulate and then go on to listen. Other than listening and asking encouraging questions you shouldn’t do anything else!
You are not a professional! You are not giving advice or sharing your own story with your partner no matter how much relevant you think it is to them or no matter how much you think that you have connected. Only if the other person explicitly asks you for an opinion or advice you may offer it – And offer it in a humble way, not in an authoritarian way (as if you know best).
Why shouldn’t you offer advice?
– Because the person signed up for someone to hear their hardships out, and to find someone that cares.
– Because the person that you are listening to probably already knows what is best, but does not have the power, will or courage to do this at the moment – Help him/her by listening, not by talking!
– Because ADVICE, is CHEAP! You can ask anyone for advice, and plenty of people will give you their superb advice even without you asking them… But finding someone that will listen to you for 30-40 minutes, that is rare.
– Because, they will use their version of your advice, fail to go trough with it properly and blame their failures on you in the end. Don’t fall for this! If the person is asking your advice think really hard, on why they want it.
If you see that the person has harsher difficulties, recommend that they see a professional -don’t try to be the professional. This project is not about treatment, it is about caring, or as the “internet” likes to put it: giving a fuck.
The partner: You have given your preferred way by which you want to be contacted, if you gave an e-mail or Skype, remember to check up on them more frequently because there are real chances that you will actually be contacted by a real person.
Whatever life has thrown at you, use this opportunity to share it with another. If you feel like your identity is exposed, you can use an alias – but remember that if you are using an alias, it would be a good idea that the contact you have provided skype/viber/e-mail does not contain personal information and data on it.
You can talk about mostly anything, just do not mention things like witnessing a crime or something of that sort – because you are putting the person in a tight situation where they are BY LAW required to report it.
If you are a victim of a crime – eg. domestic violence, be very careful as to how and when you talk about it, and don’t be surprised if your listener approaches the authorities with the information.
Please respect your, listeners private life and time. Do not go over the agreed time limit, if you two decided on talking 2 times a week each for 30 minutes stick to it. At the end of a conversation be polite, thank the person for listening and discuss when will your next conversation be.
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