L is for Listening
|illustrated by Rob Z Tobor|
“Speak without offending, listen without defending.” ~ author unknown
Awhile back I saw that quote and thought, “I totally listen.” I patted myself on the back. I don’t offend people. I’m perfect, for sure.
Umm, not so much.
Soon after I found that quote (and congratulated myself for being so awesome) I was in the midst of an argument with my hubby. We started calmly but it became heated quickly.
Rather than step away from each other, we continued the debate. It wasn’t long before I planned what I would say next instead of listening to Devin. I was more interested in getting my point across than understanding what he said.
Not surprisingly, with neither one of us listening to the other, hurtful things were said. Thankfully, Devin realized we weren’t saying anything productive. He ended the argument and suggested we talk later.
It was at that point I remembered the quote.
A little too late.
Then, I educated myself on healthy communication. Some things I learned to help me listen are:
- Avoid distractions. Turn off the television and close the laptop.
- Stay in the present. Don’t dwell on past arguments or how they pissed you off that morning. Now is not the time to discuss it
- Stick to one subject at a time. Otherwise you’ll derail the conversation.
- Wait your turn. Don’t interrupt the other person because you feel what you have to say is more important.
- Don’t make it all about you. I avoid going tit for tat when my hubby brings up stuff that he’s guilty of too.
- Ask questions. It’s okay to admit you don’t understand why the person is upset.
- Don’t hit below the belt. There are some words you can’t take back with an apology. Like Thumper said, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
- If it gets heated, take a break. It’s better than yelling.
Do you have any tips about listening to share?
This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. Wanna see more?