When you listen to your roommate talk to you about their day, or your significant other express problems he/she is having with their parents, odds are you’re spending more time talking and agreeing than listening to what they say. When someone comes to you and expresses how they feel, we often think about how to relate it to our own experience. What would you gain from sitting back and listening to your friend? When we listen rather than speak, we learn how to be more in the present rather than how to make the conversation about us.
There is a difference between relating to others and taking over the conversation. As humans, we are always in a competitive mind set when engaged in conversation; we always think about what to say while the other person is still talking. We try to respond quickly instead of effectively and by doing so, we are giving and lesser response instead of providing effective feedback. However, you learn a lot about someone by connecting with them, by asking questions to fully understand where they’re coming from you open up more opportunity fully understand their point of view. Sometimes people just want to blow off some steam to a friend or loved one who genuinely cares.
Its important to take the time to absorb as much of what they are saying and then use that to form your own perspective. You will learn that not everyone is looking for advice, not everyone wants to hear about how you once had the same problem and how you can relate. People want to know that you can be relatable but not change the direction of the conversation to yourself.Try and take time to craft your responses, but also listen to what is being said and what kind of response they are looking for. Your relationships will benefit from the times that you were patient and listened because your friends will want to come to you when they have problems or when they need to get something off of their chest. All anyone really wants is to know is that there is someone who cares about them. By giving an appropriate response or an encouraging answer, you will create higher quality conversations with your friends and loved ones. What more could you want?