L: What it Means to LISTEN Intentionally
There is a way to listen that promotes sharing of thoughts, feelings, joys, heartaches, and fears. And there is a way to ‘listen” that discourages sharing. A majour hindrance to sharing is when one person is sharing their heartache, and then another one (two or three) will jump in with their own similar heartache. At these times it becomes a one-up-man-ship type of conversation. The talk steers away from the original person.
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” ― Ralph G. Nichols
One reason I love watching Army Wives is because the core group of friends listens well to each other. They listen intentionally, on purpose, for the aim of understanding one another. When one of the friends is sharing a heartache. . .
- They don’t first engage in problem-solving.
- They don’t steer the conversation to their own similar stories.
They are secure enough in their relationships to know, there is plenty of time for all to be heard. So they spend time listening to the one in need.
Want to listen well like an “army wife,” a counselor, or a helpful friend? Here are some thoughts on what it means to listen well.
1. Step Forward. The next time you are with a friend who shares about a problem . . .
- Don’t stare but do maintain appropriate eye contact.
- Don’t touch to comfort (at this point), if she cries while sharing. The touch can interrupt the flow of words.
- Don’t offer any advice.
- Don’t cut her short with judgment.
- Don’t derail the conversation by adding unnecessary commentary or your own similar story.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Just listen. It will most likely feel awkward for you. But you are giving your friend a GIFT.
2. Practice before a friend has a deep need. Grab a friend or a group and take turns with one person talking and the rest listening with full attention on the talker. The “talker” gets to decide the topic and talks the whole time without interruption.
- It is okay to nod and make other indications of listening.
- It is even okay to ask some clarification questions.
- When her time is over, pray for her.
And that’s it. Don’t offer solutions. Let her deal with what she’s said, discovered, said out loud, maybe even for the first time. If she wants, set another date.
“Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.” ― Sura Hart, Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Cooperation
Your Turn . . . When was the last time you were really listened to? How did it feel?
Related Posts . . .
- 5 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend (The best way is to mainly listen.)
- F: FREEDOM to Share Thoughts When There’s Someone Who’ll Listen
- G: Dealing With Disenfranchised GRIEF in a Healthy Way
- Ready or Not, Here Life Comes (Because a friend listened well, I faced a challenge well)
- Sometimes Nothing is the Best Thing to Say to a Grieving Person
NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.
During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.
Today’s letter is L. The topic is LISTENING.