For whatever the reason may be, I always find that people open up to me about issues or situations that they are experiencing in their personal life. I have been given a variety of explanations over the last several years for why this occurs. Recently, a friend told me that the reason she can open up to me is because she doesn’t ever feel like I am ever sitting there judging her or anything she says. The truth is, I hate it when people judge me, so I would never intentionally do it to someone else.
On the flip side of this, I have gotten myself into little disagreements with family or friends, over the fact that sometimes someone will tell me something I am expected to remember, and every single time I will forget. Matter fact, I can’t even recall the situation or conversation that took place when that piece of information was given to me. It really sucks walking around feeling like a total moron or like you are loosing your mind after this happens!
After spending time thinking about what could be causing this to happen, more or less I have concluded that I need to do some things differently when I am actively listening to someone talking to me. Mind you, every situation or conversation is different for me, I tend to mostly tune someone out when I am either uninterested in what they are saying or going to say, or sometimes I can just get so preoccupied with other things running through my mind, that I forget I was even involved in someone else’s conversation in the first place. Anyways, I am going to share with you some of the things that might help you too if you are trying to become a better listener in you own life:
Find A Way To Be Curious About What Is Being Said To You: Like I briefly mentioned before, part of my problem is simply the fact I get bored with the direction of the conversation. So instead of tuning that person out until they stop talking, listen to the emotion behind the words they are saying. Watch their body language or any gestures they do while talking to you. Maybe even try to relate something they are saying or expressing to something you are familiar with when they are finished speaking. Pretty much, do anything it takes to keep up with the conversation, even if it is painfully hard to.
Check Your Assumptions At The Door: If you dive into a conversation with someone, and act as if you know exactly what is going on inside that person’s head, your brain will literally tune out, or in my case my brain just totally rejects, any new or pertinent information. On the other hand though, if you can manage to show genuine interest that pertains to the conversation, you sort of make an environment for you and that other person that benefits you both. You will actually hear what is being said, and whoever you are listening to, will actually feel like he or she is honestly being heard and not ignored.
Refrain From Judging: This is probably sometimes one of the harder ones for some people. This requires you to let the other person talk, without you interrupting him or her. Also, do your best to take in everything that person is saying and do your best to understand every bit of it while you sit there quietly listening. If you succeed in doing this, you will probably realize that somewhere along the way, you both might share some sort of common ground or goals. Eventually, this leads to being able to empathize with the other person, because you are more or less able to put yourself in their shoes to some degree.
Listening isn’t always something that is easy to do, that’s for sure. But if we can all put a little effort into trying to do things like this, differently for the sake of someone who is important to us, eventually that relationship will become stronger because of the willingness we had to try to fix the occasional flaws we might exhibit from time to time.