Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: Listen

I'm not sure why, but this topic was a little tough for me. It took a little more thought than usual to come up with my post.

My first thoughts on this topic are that in general, people are not good listeners. I remember hearing somewhere that most people spend their listening time thinking of how they will respond to the person talking. They are just waiting, sometimes impatiently, for their turn to talk. I think I've been guilty of this at times. But I have been told I'm a good listener too, so I won't despair too much.

I was actually thinking today about therapists, and how they listen. One time I did a survey for a woman who was working on her doctoral degree for family therapy. (I don't know the fancy doctorate name for that) She not only took notes on everything I said, but paid attention to everything I did. At one point she asked me an extremely personal question. I inadvertently covered my mouth with my hand. I noticed her quickly jot that detail on her notepad. I did share my thoughts with her, and didn't hold back, but it made me think more about what I was doing with my hands from then on. But therapists in general listen to everything said, even if it is just in passing. I think the idea behind it is that people say what is bothering them, even if they say it accidentally.

Most of us consciously formulate what we want to say. But sometimes our subconscious just needs to get something off it's chest, and we blurt something out. Therapists take note, and then purposefully ask about that detail.

I have church duties that often put me in a position of needing to listen to the plight of others. I think I could learn something from the therapists. If I can really listen to everything that is said, even when it's tiring, I think I can be of more help to the people with whom I work. But I think I could take this a step further, and do the same with my family members, especially my children.

Before I end this note, I wanted to mention one more thing about listening when it comes to listening to boys. I can't remember where I learned this, but a psychologist said that if you want boys to talk to you, then you should do something active with them. For example, have them help you wash the car. Boys are more comfortable talking when they are actively doing something. I have found this to be true, and really enjoy when I can get my boys to talk!

Now go check out what the other consortium members have to say about this issue!

Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, Conrad, Padmum, Magpie11, and Akanksha, Will Knot, and Martha the Silver Fox


Grannymar said...

Great Post. I love listening to people, really listening, and reading the body language especially the eyes. Eyes tell you so much.

Val said...

Good post. I used to be a much better listener that I am these days and I think that's because when I listened, I was too insecure to speak much. But when I listened, I really did listen.

Rummuser said...

It has been quite obvious to me for some time that you are a good listener. It is obvious from the stories that you write about with all the details, which can only be gathered if one is a good listener/observer. It is however quite frustrating when one is a good listener to be stuck with people who are not and who exploit the situation with long soliloquies.

myrealmofimagination said...

Love the post.

Completely agree with you when you say people think faster than they can talk. This almost always results in them being totally bad listeners and also talking incoherently.

Inklings said...

I think in these times people take less and less time to have conversations with other people. Everyone is so busy, and it's really kind of sad.

Will Knott said...

You comment on "doing something active with boys to get them talking" rings true the other way around for me. I end up hearing more when listening to something while doing an activity; Most of my security lectures stick with me while driving.

padmum said...

We have a proverb in Tamizh--at least tell a derelict wall your troubles and have a good weep!

Listening has to be cultivated...I learnt it in the Samaritans! I have also honed it in the interviews that I do for my articles.

It is amazing what a sympathetic ear can generate. Lovely blog as usual. God bless!

Stick said...

My biggest problem with listening is being focused from the start. As long as the speaker has my attention when they start talking, I do okay, but if they don't, I lose the thread of the conversation. I think this is true of many people. We lead such busy lives that we are thinking of other things when people start talking. The trick is to be focused and listening from the start.