It seems to me that the majority of people listen to respond, not listening to truly understand where the other person is coming from. Conversations ping-pong one to the other, with no one truly tuning in to what is being said and the emotions sitting behind the words.
Stephen Covey talks about our need for ‘psychological air’, which we gain when someone empathetically listens to us, tapping in to our emotions and making a deposit into our Emotional Bank Account.
It is deeply therapeutic and comforting when we feel that someone cares enough about us to establish and understand where we are coming from.
However, this is how most conversations go…
Hello Mary, how are you?
Oh I’ve got a bit of a head cold.
Well it would be nothing like the sinus I had last week.
Hey, George, what are doing this weekend?
Oh, just chilling and watching Netflix.
Really? I can’t be bothered with Netflix. I’m going out to a music concert”.
Conversations just jump from one person to the other or, as is often the case, one person does all the talking whilst the one being spoken at feels used and abused.
A friend wrote to me the other day and said, “With you, it is OK to talk about myself because you LISTEN…..I don’t know one other person who listens…….not one!!!! I get cut off after two words then I let the other person run with their own agenda……….because it’s exhausting trying to get a word in. With ‘us’ it is an even flow of communication and you really do listen and I love you for that.”
How many wives have lamented to me that their husbands always come up with solutions to their problems instead of simply listening and acknowledging their feelings. (Fellows, that’s all you have to do – listen and empathise).
We all need ‘psychological air’. We all need to feel heard.
p.s At Aqua only this morning, a woman asked me what I was doing for Christmas? My response, “A quiet one. I’m….” She jumped in to tell me what she was doing, who was coming, what they were eating, about their trip to Japan after Christmas, how her daughter was going to Japan with her new baby, all about the new baby, about she and her husband baby sitting in Japan…. ( gurgle, gurgle, gurgle – I just wanted to drown myself to stop the endless chatter)