Continuation from Day #37, 38 and 39…
This is probably one of the tougher areas for me. I have a hard time not being engaged actively either through talking or keeping busy. This leads me to jump in with unsolicited advice (great advice though!), but I am determined to become a better listener. I even took the time to look up some courses on how to be a better listener, but they all had to do with advancing your career…I just want to be a good friend.
Some of the research I did on unsolicited advice inferred that someone who did this had a grandiose sense of self and was rigid. I would not classify myself as either. I’m extremely flexible when things are done my way because I’m always right…seriously though, I did not see myself in this definition.
What I did identify with is that hearing about others’ problems can give a feeling of anxiety (because I hate conflict and seeing others suffer), and in this process, I am seeking control and order. Yes, I hate that feeling that someone’s life is chaotic and want to help them order the madness. I equate it to cleaning someone’s house and how much more fun it is to do than clean your own. If you cannot see a way to solve your own problems, then solve someone else’s…makes perfect sense.
So, how am I going to be a better listener. Here’s some tools that I plan to employ…
- Give advice only if asked…obvious, but my least favorite. What if no one asks. I’m going to need to haul out a huge journal to record all my great solutions.
- Listen with an open mind and trust their journey. No preconceptions. No judgement. Just ears open.
- Acknowledge and empathize. Empathy goes such a long way. I know I feel so understood when someone tries to walk my journey with me and validates my feelings.
- Repeat what they have said back to them to show listening and understanding. This might be the most useful. A way to get the talking energy out without railroading anyone.
- Ask if you can help. Not always applicable especially as many people just want to vent and may shut down this process. Use your intuition to see if this might be appropriate, maybe save it until the end.
- Don’t interrupt. Another indication that it should be herbal tea, not Americano at my coffee dates.
Thank you for journeying through this process with me the past few days. I have learned a lot and hope you have too. Actually when you look at it, I just offered you three days of unsolicited advice. LOL. Enjoy! Tomorrow onto lighter things.