Tag Archives: listening

When You Need a Friendly Ear

Thanks to the folks at SOS Help for suggesting and writing this post.

Moving to a new city is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life.  Moving to a new city of 10 million people who speak a different language doesn’t make it any easier.  From shopping for groceries to navigating the Metro, each daily task now requires a little more effort.  And then when you’re ready to relax and socialize, there’s the matter of meeting new people.  At times, all this newness can be a little overwhelming.

And even after living in a city for a while, unique challenges will still arise here and there.  How are we expected to make it through all of this?

Luckily for English-speakers in Paris, there is SOS Help, a nonprofit group whose purpose is to provide an empathetic ear to people experiencing these exact things.  From 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily, you can call the line anonymously and talk about what’s on your mind – no matter how big or small – to a professionally trained, nonjudgmental listener.

Maybe you’re a student who is having a difficult time adjusting to the French university system.  Maybe you relocated for your job and are having a hard time meeting anyone outside of work.  Maybe you’re in a bilingual relationship and are having communication problems due to the language barrier.  Maybe you just feel alone in a new country.  The SOS listeners help by doing just that – listening.  Sometimes just talking about what’s bugging you can help you gain perspective and help solve the problem.  Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone is all you need.

Our volunteers are trained by professional psychologists to provide empathetic, supportive, and nonjudgmental listening to anyone going through difficult or painful times.  We listen to callers speaking about issues as wide-ranging as loneliness, depression, health concerns, bereavement, money problems, unemployment, difficulties with friends or family, or substance abuse.

So why does SOS provide this service?  We are expats ourselves and have been through many of the same things as our callers.  We know what it’s like to be new in a city and what it’s like to just want someone to talk to.  Since 1974, our trained volunteers have been listening to callers throughout France.  We know that hearing the voice of someone who understands what you’re going through can sometimes be the most helpful solution when you’re feeling worried, lonely, or even suicidal.

The biggest step is learning you’re not alone.

There are thousands of English-speaking expats in Paris.  It comes as no surprise that so many people would relocate to such a lively city, with gorgeous buildings and fresh croissants everywhere you look.  But among all the clinking of wine glasses and music from street performers are people who are feeling a little down.  If that’s you, give us a call.  We’d love to help.

SOS Help
01 46 21 46 46
3 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily