Is that it’s hard to do. Too hard, even.
It can be boring at times! Why don’t you listen to me instead?
It’s too hard
Who wants to just sit around, listening to every detail you’re saying, watching for body and facial language, as well as what you’re feeling?
That’s tiring, and difficult! How will I ever be able to do all of that? I’m here, facing you, still looking like I’m listening to the best of what I can do, but I’m bored.
I’ve heard it all before from someone else, and you’re just going through a phase. There’s research and a study on that, I suggest you just read up on that. What are you trying to say? Just get to the point already.
It’s about me helping you
It’s easier for me to give you a piece of my mind. I have experience, I’ve gone through this before. I’ve studied about this, and have read up extensively about what you’re going through. It’s not pretty, but you should do these things instead. I’m a good guy! You can trust me to give you the right stuff, the right words, and the right things to do.
It’s easier to give advice. Who wouldn’t want advice? Practical tips to improve your life, as told by me.
What do I say to that?
I listen to you so I’ll know what to say to you. I look for the parts that I can latch on and answer back, agree with, support and comment on, or debate about. I don’t think what your saying is totally correct, but here’s the improvement I can suggest about it. You’re saying this now, but you just said something else contradictory earlier. What’s up with that?
What did you just say? Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ll still continue to look like I’m interested and listening, but I’ve got to come up with a smart and definitive answer to that comment. Or even just a witty comeback. I’ve got to think of one fast, looks like you’re about to finish talking. I still look like I’m listening, though. Until the moment I find a small pause, then I’ll start talking.
That’s how I see it
Why are you saying that? Is it due to some past experience? Painful? And the memories of that wouldn’t go away? Or is it something you’ve believed since childhood something you’ve been holding on for so long? Maybe.
Maybe that’s why you’re acting that way and saying such things. I know because it’s happened to me before. I know because I’ve read about it. I know because I heard about it, and I heard other people talking about it. But I really know what you’re going through and where you’re coming from, because I studied all of that in college. Heck, I even got a license.
Or maybe I’ll just look like I’m listening, but let my mind drift far away, because I know you’re out to get me. You don’t like me, and I don’t like you. So why should I listen? What you’re saying won’t help me anyway. You don’t want to help me anyway.
I’ve got to be doing things
This is boring. I’ve got better things to do than sit around and listen to this. What’s the point to all of this? Just get to the point already so we can end this conversation. Whoever said that communication is a two way street, clearly has too much time on their hands.
I’ve got problems too
You got problems? Well I’ve got problems too. So don’t pour your sob story on me, I’ve got my own life to deal with, and my own problems to think about.
I’ve got an idea! How about you keep quiet, and let me share my problems too! You might be able to pick up a thing or two, and I’ll get the chance to feel better for a change.
It’s all about me
Sure, I’m listening. I’m listening to the parts that I want to listen to. I want to hear certain things said, and I’m listening, watching out for them. If you’re not going to say what I want to hear, I want to know why? Why not? Or I can just go ahead and say it, and ask you how you feel about it. Maybe then you’ll tell me what I want to hear. I want to start saying my piece anyway.
The problem with listening, is we don’t do enough of it.
And despite all of the obstacles and difficulty that there is to listening, It’s something we don’t do enough of. We don’t realize how powerful listening can be in our lives, and in having a positive effect in the lives of others.
What makes listening so valuable is that it’s hard to do, and through listening to others, can we start to make heart to heart connections with other people. And it’s that connection that people really want and look for as they journey with friends and companions in their daily lives.
Listening, and getting what people are saying and feeling, in what they want to be understood and the way that they are feeling, and showing them that you understand, that you get what they are going through, is part of building heart to heart connections. Dr. Covey puts it as “emotional oxygen.” It enables relationships to breathe and grow.
It’s also not enough to just listen to the person, but to also make them feel listened to. People have emotions too!
And people ultimately don’t remember what you say or do to them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
It’s also important to listen to yourself. Oftentimes we can be so focused on other people, that we forget that even we ourselves need listening to. Be sensitive to what you’re feeling and thinking. Be honest with yourself.
Listening. We really can’t do too much of it.
Have stories of how people made you feel listened to, or tips on how to listen better? Please share in the comments below!