Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, and no one is available. You know about the Lifeline, but you’re not suicidal, you’re just sad or angry and need to vent to someone. It can be frustrating when it’s a holiday, late night, or whenever that you just feel alone.
7 Cups of Tea is a website that allows you to be able to talk to someone anytime, anywhere. I sometimes step up to be one of their “Listeners,” or the people that talk to those in need. This site is completely anonymous whether you are a Guest or Listener, and you can communicate with each other via instant messaging.
When you go to the site you have a few options: You can start with what the site calls a “Simple Task.” It walks you through focusing on positives to create a “Growth Path.” This is optional. You can also become a member and talk to Listeners that are currently online.
Once registered, you can browse Listeners based on what your needs are. Listeners write short bios about their experience and their specialties or categories of interest. So if you are going through a really hard breakup and need to talk to someone about it, you can choose a Listener who specifies that as an interest, though you don’t necessarily have to do that. All Listeners are prepared to answer any “call” and go through training on how to interact with Guests. You can talk as long as needed with a trained Listener. The site is free and you can utilize it as much as you would like.
If it is a passion of yours, you can also become a Listener. You will make a Listener account, complete an Active Listening training, and create your official profile. Then it’s just a matter of going online and taking “calls” and letting them control the direction of the IM conversation. As a Listener, the biggest thing is to be aware of your limits and triggers. There is a forum for Listeners to connect with fellow Listeners to ask for advice if you’re not sure what to do. You can also ask someone to take over the conversation for you and refer a Guest to someone else if you feel triggered. If needed, you can always sign out and go do self-care activities or even sign in as a Guest and talk to another Listener.
This is a great resource when you just need someone to talk to. You can also feel better by helping others. As a current Listener, I feel a lot of pride in the people I have talked to on the site. It takes a lot to open up to someone, but I think it’s a rewarding experience for Guests and Listeners alike.