The Art of Listening to Strengthen Relationships
Often we have to maintain relationships and friendships in the society that we live in. But what I would like to ask people is how often do you have the time to cherish them? Or even to maintain a true friendship? Those that ask us only to be loving and caring.
Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life when we thoroughly learn and listen. There are issues that I see bottled up in persons without them being made visible to the world outside. But a good ear and a few moments can help the person in more than one way.
The art of listening is one of the best acts that you can do to help a friend or relative or even your partner. There are people out there who need to talk about their issues, knowing well that we will not be able to help them. Yet they want to speak of their issues and relieve themselves. Well, certainly, nothing is wrong in lending them an ear. Maybe their problems are not as grave as yours, but, yes, it will help them, which is more important in that moment.
Ways to improve your ‘Art of Listening’ skill
1. Do not Interrupt
Be aware of what is expected of you. The person who is tormented might only need someone who listens to what he wants to say. I would simply say that wait till it is your turn to speak or console, but never interrupt.
2. Choosing the Right Place
If it is your friend who wants to speak to you, call him/her to a place that is not very crowded or even very quiet. A crowded place will simply not serve the purpose of listening and a very quiet place can attract the attention of the other people. Listening is best done when people are not observing the both of you.
3. Responding while Listening
Remember, you are here to listen. If you want to speak, it should not be more than two words in agreement of what the friend has to say. Many times you do feel like pointing out your opinion, but considering the situation, it would be better to shut-up. Your thoughts should be controlled because they were not asked for.
4. Silence is the Best Advice
Never advise him/her when they want you to listen. It is not expected of you. You are not even supposed to solve their problems—as you probably won’t be able to. But yes they want to know if you agree with them, which should be always positive in any situation.
They should know that they are talking to a friend that can give them consolation. Many times the situation is something that you cannot find any way to solve, and if asked for advice on such matters, be honest and tell them that you cannot give any (but in a nice way).
5. Show You are There
Listening does not mean to literally keep quiet for the whole time you are with your friend that would mean you are disinterested and not present mentally. Nod in agreement or respond with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ whenever needed. If the friend wants any kind of response, then do not hesitate to put forth your ideas, which should be never bold or dominating.
The art of listening: Forget about what you were going to say next. Make sure you hear what the other person says.
6. Body language
Yes, body language is important. It speaks volumes of what is going on in your mind. A good listener will always lean forward to listen. Eye contact is necessary to show that you are listening. Do not be judgmental when they are talking out their problems.
Smile, whenever necessary and show that everything will be fine. Do not fiddle with anything in your hand as it shows you are impatient and want to leave. Similarly looking at your watch often or yawning is the last thing that is expected of you.
Conclusion – The Art of Listening
Listening is a skill that requires patience and the knack to decide when to keep quiet and pay attention and the way to use one’s own words. The art of listening helps in better communication and eventually helps us lead a happier life. Listening is essential to fulfilling relationships. If you are experiencing challenging interactions or you want your connections to deepen, reflect on how you can improve your listening skills.
Effective listening develops empathy, which is the capacity for a deep understanding of another’s experience. And the simplest thing that can make your relationship bloom is the way you pay attention.