Do you hear me? “Linda, Linda listen to me.”
You can’t hear me Linda! You can’t hear me, Mateo! Speak louder. Build your case. Banter back and forth until someone wins, or you both go to your corners like fighters in a boxing ring.
Sound familiar? Many of us are in relationships where we struggle with being heard, or are told we don’t listen. Regardless, listening is intuitive to some, while others don’t understand how to listen, or would rather talk than listen.
Listening is a skill we need to master if we desire mutually edifying relationships.
Listening is more than waiting for your turn to talk. Many people are forming their commentary while the other person is talking. They space out and get into their heads while forming their rebuttal.
It’s a set up to shut down the opponent. Most of the time, this is unintentional; a learned behavior or familial communication pattern. Overtime, this pattern of communication leads many couples, and families to seeking help from a professional. When you reach an impasse on some important relationship issues, consider learning more about how to listen and really hear what your loved one, colleague, or employee is trying to convey to you.
Here are today’s Tips from the Trail:
1. Learn about, and practice what’s called Reflective Listening. Psychologist, Carl Rogers developed a modality called client-centered therapy. Rogers coined the term Reflective listening because he found if he repeated back exactly what his clients said then he would understand what they needed. Learn more about Reflective Listening here.
2. Here’s an example of parroting back the words of someone you’re talking with:
“Listen Linda (mom), I want to eat cookies anytime I want.”
” You want to eat cookies anytime you want?”
” Yes, I can eat cookies anytime I want at Grandmas.”
” At Grandmas you can eat cookies anytime.”
” Well, not all the time, but she let’s us have a lot of cookies, and when you come here you need to do what Grandma does.”
” OK. So what I hear you saying is, you get to eat a lot of cookies at Grandmas, and when I am here with you, you want me to let you have cookies just like Grandma does?”
” Yes, that’s it!”
” How about if we talk with Grandma together about your cookie agreement. That way you get cookies, and at the same time I understand how it works between you and Grandma. Does that sound like a plan that will work for you?”
” Yes, because you don’t understand Grandma’s rules.”
” I don’t understand Grandma’s rules. I want to, so let’s talk with her.”
3. Try parroting back what you hear today. It does not mean you agree with them. It means you really heard them.
4. Lastly, seek professional help if you and your partner, or child continue to reach impasses. Listening is necessary if you desire mutually edifying relationships.
Happy trails, and happy listening to you and yours, Allison