While having a conversation with someone, do you ever find yourself crafting your response instead of listening to what the other person is saying? We can no longer ignore it: Our communication skills as a society leave a lot to be wished for. When others are trying to pour their hearts out to us, we think of how we can make sure that we appear smart and trendy when we reply to them. When others try to explain their problems to us so we can help them carry their burdens, we think of how our own problems are much bigger than theirs.
Selfish in a Conversation
And because we tend to be so selfish in the conversations we have with the people in our lives, we often fail to serve as a source of comfort for them. We fail to show them that they’re loved and cared for, and we fail to hear their cries for help. Indeed, many of our relationships can become strained because of our poor communication skills. If we wish to maintain healthy relationships with those we care for, then we must certainly work on improving the way we carry out our dialogues.
So how can we learn to not be selfish in our conversations? The following tips might come in handy:
Be sincerely interested in the other person
One of the reasons we often always fail to give people our full attention when we they talk to us, is because we convince ourselves that their stories are not interesting. We tell ourselves that there is nothing of value that they can tell us, that they will simply bore us and that we should do ourselves the favor of simply mentally wandering into other worlds as they ramble on. What we don’t realize is that every person out there can teach us something about life if we’re willing to pay attention to the thoughts and stories they share. People are immensely interesting beings with an endless amount of splendid peculiarities. If we understand that and always aim to open our eyes to their uniqueness, then there can never be a single conversation that is not interesting. Simply tell yourself, “I can learn a lot from this person,” and with that you will build a desire to listen inside yourself and be able to grant the person your full attention.
Aim To Understand the Main Emotion Being Communicated
People always bring one dominant emotion to a conversation. It can be fear, worry, sadness, happiness or excitement. And the emotion that they try to communicate if often much more important than the particular words they use to relay it. That’s because when people pour their hearts out to us, the main thing that they seek is validation for their emotions. They want to know whether or not they’re right to feel the way they feel. So when your friend tries to tell you about how condescendingly her boss treats her, between the lines, she is simply trying to tell you that she is annoyed and saddened by her boss’s actions and she want to know whether or not she is right to feel that way. But because we always listen so half-heartedly to what people are telling us, we often miss the emotions they’re trying to share.
Try to Match People’s Emotions
The best way to validate someone during a conversation is to reflect the emotion they’re trying to communicate with the stories they’re telling. When you respond to people, it might not be necessary to bring in your opinions or solutions. A simple “That’s terrible” or “That’s wonderful” followed by a question that will help you understand their situation better, may be enough to make them feel like their emotions are in line with what they should be feeling and that they’re therefore worthy and lovable human beings. Learn to laugh with those who laugh and to cry with those who cry, and with that attitude of empathy, you will reach the hearts of many.
A listening ear can be much more nourishing than food and water. Be a light in people’s lives. Learn to forget yourself for a little while when people are talking to you. Instead, carry their burdens with them; celebrate their joys with them.
Bio: Nelu Mbingu is a self-improvement blogger, the creator of Lessons From Everyday Life. She writes thought-provoking articles on a variety of topics relating to personal growth and social success. http:\\www.lessonsfromeverydaylife.com