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?