I seem to have developed ADD with all the multi-tasking…Do you have it? Are you multi-tasking through life, like most of us, and only giving important conversations half an ear? I find that I’m doing it more often. Life is a series of distractions but the last thing I want to do is make the important people in my life feel like they’re last on my list.
Here are some tools I’m working to incorporate to become a better listener while all the shiny objects are jangling in front of my face.
No really, stop talking. Don’t interrupt. Don’t add. Don’t raise your hand, wave it crazily and yell, “Pick me! Pick me!” That is what it looks like when you make your opinion more important than the other person talking. Guess someone needed more hugs from mom…
Allow for silence
An unhurried moment of silence is sometimes all that’s required to allow a friend to move to something very personal or difficult to share. I try to remember that people often need a quiet moment to ramp up to the things that are hard to say.
Wait—I’ve got this tool box
Listening and fixing are not the same thing. I’m embarrassed to admit I get very excited to show people my tool box when they’re sharing a situation with me. That sounds dirty…Anyway, I forget that sometimes its about the process the person is going through not my rockin’, problem solving skill set. So embarrassing when I do this…
Take that extra minute
It is the little things. The little things are the big things—they are what touch us deeply, resonate in our cold, black hearts and become the memories that we hold dear. Create those as often as possible.
It doesn’t have to be about you
See: Shut up and tool box
We all know that person –the one who turns any revelation into the much bigger story about them self. Think about the last time you found yourself in that situation. I bet you crossed that person off your list to “Make sure I tell xxx the big news”. Trumping is a roadblock to having deeper relationships with others.
Ignore your phone
I realize sometimes you have to get the call—it’s an emergency, might be about your child, a job. Taking a call during a conversation tells the other person that there is someone much more interesting/important on the line. You are now 2nd. No one should put Baby in the corner.
What would make you feel better?
A shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, a distraction, chocolate? We are all individuals but sometimes we’re not really so different. The thing that makes you feel better probably helps your friend, too.