Are You a Good Listener?

Most people aren’t.  In fact, you have probably encountered a few people today who either interrupted you or were just thinking about what they were going to say next while you were talking.

“Listening is the new loving”.  I heard Luis Palau say this on K-LOVE the other day.  It sounds cheesy coming from me, but not from him.

I remember going through an interview several years ago.  It was through a staffing agency, and the woman had such fine listening skills, it actually took me off-guard.  You have probably heard some tips about active listening.   Paraphrase back to the person what they’ve said.  Get confirmation that you’ve understood, etc.  She was so good at paraphrasing what I had said, she said it far better than I did originally.  An impressive skill.

It can be frustrating speaking to a poor listener.  But, when two poor listeners get together – watch out.  It’s a bit like two narcissists.

I’m getting a little negative here.  It’s obvious that it’s a treat to talk to a good listener.  But, what are some of the positives of being a good listener?

When my anxiety was at its worst, I went to a counselor for a while.  I was telling her about how I had to give an employee some bad news about her job.  I told her how I hated for this person to have negative feelings about me, when I was only the messenger, and not the decision-maker.  She challenged me to take the focus off of myself, and instead truly focus on this person . . . listening and thinking about what I could do for her, instead of getting anxious about how she was thinking and feeling about me.

If you suffer from anxiety, a trick to reduce some of your anxious feelings is to take the focus off of yourself.  So, you are not only benefiting the other person by genuinely listening; you are also helping yourself.

I think I’m a pretty good listener, but not all of the time.  My husband would say I’m a poor listener at times.  Our house can be chaotic – so yes, it’s true.  I don’t always catch everything.  Like most people, if I have stressful things going on, I can be distracted.  But, I recognize that it is a choice to be a good listener – and it takes an effort.  Hmmm . . . kind of like it being a choice to love someone.  It takes effort to make relationships (romantic or otherwise) last.  So, maybe Luis Palau is right.  Maybe listening is the new loving.  What do you think?

 

 

One thought on “Are You a Good Listener?”

  1. This is such an amazingly wonderful subject! I love the lessons that you listed about listening. It is such a hard thing to do and very mindful to indeed listen. Thank you for such a great subject and all of the tips on how to become a better listener!

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