How to Listen (And I Mean Really Listen)

Do you know how to listen? Sounds like a dumb question. But it’s really not. Do you know how to listen?

So many of us listen to respond. We don’t actually listen to what the speaker is saying. I was binge-watching reality television when I was inspired to write this post. Yes, I can be inspired by nearly anything.

But, I was reminded that sometimes people don’t really listen to you. And you don’t really listen to them. And that brings along so many miscommunications even when you seem to be speaking the same language.

So, today’s topic will be how to listen.

Why You Need to Listen

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Avoid miscommunications and pointless arguments

When you actually listen to others, you can avoid miscommunications. Because instead of hearing what you want to hear, you will actually hear what your friend is telling you. You will realize that you were getting offended for no reason.

You friend didn’t mean to hurt your feelings or purposely make you feel left out. You will realize that your friend is not like you. You need others to feel better and talk about your problems. They don’t normally do that. So, releasing their problems does not easily.

It’s not that they don’t trust you at all. In fact, this has nothing to do with you or your level of friendship. The two of you just have different ways of dealing with things. As long as, your friend has a healthy way of dealing with their problems, that should be okay with you. You’re there to be their support.

Connect with people more

You can connect more with others when you actually listen. Because you are able to see and hear what others are telling you. You feel the emotion and the place where they are coming from. That allows you to empathize and connect for real.

I know you try to empathize with others. But when you’re not really listening, sometimes it comes across as fake or forced. Try to listen better. No, listening will not make you overly sensitive. It will just help you to be more understanding towards others.

You won’t always agree, but you will genuinely understand where someone is coming from. And when you understand where someone is coming from, you are less likely to be angry at someone else’s version of the truth.

How to Listen

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Listening is actually quite easy. It could be because I rather listen than talk. But, that’s just me.

Remove the Distractions

The first thing you need to do is remove the distractions. You know what I mean. Stop scrolling through Instagram while you’re talking. No one can ever really multi-task without losing focus elsewhere.

If you feel like the conversation deserves attention, give it attention. Turn down the TV and face the person you are talking with.

If you face the person you are listening to, you are more likely to pay attention to what they’re saying and even catch onto their body language. And body language is very important when listening. It can add a lot to a person’s story.

Forget you have to respond back

The majority of the issues with listening comes from feeling like you have to respond to what the other person is saying. And if you’re busy thinking of a response to the first sentence your friend said to you, how can you truly hear what they are trying to say?

Like I said before, no one is a perfect multi-tasker. One of the things you are doing, will not get your full attention. Chances are it will be your friend.

Because you are trying to think of something intelligent to say. But you are going to miss the fact that your friend is pouring their heart out to you. They are genuinely looking for someone to understand and help them.

And sometimes, they don’t even need your help. They just want you to listen to them rant and get stuff off their chest. That brings me to my next tip.

It’s okay to have silence

You have this fear that when it comes time for you to talk, you’ll have nothing to say. You just have to fill the silence. But, it’s okay to pause and think.

You do not need an answer to everything. You do not need to know the answer right away. If someone took the time to think and there was a silence, it wouldn’t bother me. I’d just think that they were taking my concerns seriously and genuinely desired to help me.

Think about where the other party is coming from

This is for the times where you may not agree with the other party. Why would someone else not want to own their own business? That’s dumb. Is it really? Think about it from the other perspective.

Not every one desires to be their own boss. And its not for everyone. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with the task. There’s a lot of time you have to put in. While you thrive on more responsibility, your co-worker may not. They enjoy just clocking in and clocking out.

It gives them time to do other things, enjoy holidays and spend time with their family. The sacrifices that you had to make for your business is not worth it to them.

Their opinions are just as important as yours. Just because their feelings are different from yours, it doesn’t make it any less valid. Remember that when you’re listening and before you respond.

In Conclusion

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Learn to listen. It will change your relationships and the way you see the world. Remove the distractions from your conversations and really listen. Forget about the need to respond. You can pause and think. Silence is okay.

Think about where the other party is coming from in the conversation. You might just end up with a deeper understanding of others and improving your relationships. You’ll know how to give better responses to each person you talk to because you’ll actually be listening to them.

Thanks for reading my rant,

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Shika Tamaklo is a pharmacist who graduated from Mercer University (2020). She is a college lifestyle blogger who writes on fitness, health, life struggles, creative side hustles and, occasionally dabbles in creative writing.

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