This chapter of my life is called ‘The Listener.’
She tucks her hair behind her ears and leans forward, one hand arched under her chin. She waits and here’s the strange part, instead of interjecting with her anecdote of last night’s wacky dream or zoning out and thinking about gum ball machines she Listens. With a capital ‘L’.
Now the hard part about this challenge is that I made this one pretty vague. It was good because it meant that I had plenty of wiggle room to explore what it means to be a good listener but it also made me lazy and I did forget that I was supposed to apply this to everyday, every conversation. Listening is haaaaard. Here’s some things I did learn/pick-up in a handy dot point form.
- The most important thing about conversation is not just the exchange of dialogue between two or more people but the trust that it enables. By talking to one another, and listening (in being heard) a person is willing to share and trust the other person. If a person does not listen or share to a conversation then this bond is quickly shut down or made awkward. If the listener does not respond accordingly to the topic of conversation then that can leave the speaker feeling vulnerable or displeased.
- By listening to the conversation (including tone and body language) you can avoid this miscommunication to occur.
- The listener has to be careful not to zone into one part of a dialogue, either tone or body language or one particular topic and that can cause judgement and to lose sight of the overall message in the conversation. It can also cause the listener to overact emotionally by zoning in on something.
- I found that by listening intensely it can make me over think many things, I was sensitive to others emotions and reading into body language. This can be a good thing but it did also make me feel uncomfortable by ‘over-listening’ and taking offence to a person’s mood as something I had done to upset then.
- One of my biggest problems with listening is that I often interject (Rude!) because I think what I have to say is important (not always so!).
- The speaker also has a job to play, and has to make sure that there is an actual dialogue occurring rather than just a long speech. If it the speaker is boring than it is not the listener’s fault that they cannot concentrate. Ahah! A loop hole in not having to listen to my pa’s stories.
- Multi-tasking (texting, being on the net) makes it near impossible to listen properly to someone!
I guess these things are fairly obvious but it is so often that we don’t listen. I would still like to continue listening well but it is nice to just do things on automaton too. You know, like switch off? I guess that’s what last week taught me, I like not having to make too much of an effort to listen. But I did like knowing a bit more about my fella’s every day stuff. I will try not to such a chatterbox and let The Listener have her turn!
Right well, that’s it for me until next week!