Are You Listening or Just Waiting Your Turn?

Are you guilty of being this kind of friend? Sadly, it’s so common that you might not notice the problem at first. You ask someone ‘How’s it going?’ and the conversation goes like this:

Friend: I’m annoyed because I feel like I’m giving everything I’ve got at work, but no one recognizes the effort.

You: Yeah, I know how that feels. My boss sucks at recognition and praise.

Friend: Right. The boss just walks right by without ever asking how I’m doing or to say ‘good job’.

You: I know how you feel. Sometimes I just wanna scream. One time, I worked overtime on this big project for two weeks and nobody even said ‘thanks, good job.’

Friend: Geez, that sucks. I hate my job. I wish I could quit.

This conversation is going nowhere fast, and both of you are bound to end up resentful and bitter. Neither one of you is really hearing the other person. You’re both waiting your turn to tell your own sad tale of woe.

What if you stopped to really listen to your friend? You could change the whole direction of the conversation.

In this next scenario, you’ll see how the dynamic changes when you stop to hear the words. See if you can figure out what’s different about this:

Friend: I’m annoyed because I feel like I’m giving my all at work, but no one recognizes my efforts.

You: It sounds like you don’t feel appreciated.

Friend: Right. The boss just walks right by without ever asking how I’m doing or to say ‘good job’.

You: Hmm. I’m guessing there’s something you’re especially proud of that you’d like your boss to notice.

Friend: Actually, there is. I just finished a project in record time and the client was so happy because she saved quite a few dollars in the process.

You: So, your client took the time to say how great your work was? That’s cool.

Friend: Hey, you know, that is cool. I’m feeling pretty good about that.

You: Way to go. How about we celebrate over coffee?

What’s different about this exchange? The focus is not on you.

Instead of offering an example of how lousy your life is, too, you can turn it around. Demonstrate that you hear what was said by saying it back in a different way.

Let your friend be heard.

You’ll get your turn another time. This is her moment. Make an effort to listen. Don’t expect the favor to be returned. Give without asking for anything back.

During the holidays, you can start feeling stressed right about now. Stress is a major cause of health problems. Being heard is a simple, powerful, natural remedy for stress.

The effects are subtle but profound. Relationships start to heal. Anxiety and depression lessen. Stomach aches and headaches and body pain ease up.

When you use a simple tool like this to shift the course of a conversation, you raise the vibe of your relationships. Step by tiny step, resentment, helplessness, and that ‘poor me’ attitude dissolve. A problem becomes a celebration.

Can you do it? Can you offer your generous, complete, undistracted, attention to someone?

It’s not necessary to completely understand and share in their feelings. It’s only necessary to listen. Try it.

What better gift can you give this season? Or any time or year!

 

Related Post:  A Naturally Healing Tea for This Time of Year

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