5 Ways to Be a Better Listener
From learning to empathize to thinking positively, here are five tips that will improve your listening skills and make you a better friend.
Do you have adult attention deficit disorder? Work on one of these ideas at a time, and you’ll improve your ability to listen, communicate, and be a friend.
Keep your advice to yourself
Sometimes people just need to be heard. Racing to identify and solve our friends’ problems takes away their chance to explore their thoughts and feelings, which can leave them frustrated. Is your friend asking for advice? If you don’t hear a question, just listen while she vents.
Put down the gavel
True friends don’t judge. We all make mistakes, and the best option for me could be the worst for you. Every situation presents a spectrum of outcomes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Open up to the many directions any given situation can go.
Empathize instead of minimize
“If you think that’s bad, let me tell you what happened to me….” Minimizing someone’s feelings is a poor way to foster friendships.
We all have a right to our feelings, no matter what they may be. So if your friend gets worked up because her boss will approve only a three-day weekend instead of a four-day weekend, let her vent her frustration, even if you think the three-day weekend sounds pretty good.
Multi-tasking can make you a better employee and a better homemaker — but it won’t make you a better listener. Doing too many things during a conversation leaves others feeling like they don’t matter. So pull up a chair — leave your books, your bills, and your laptop someplace else — and listen.
Getting carried away with negatives can cause you to overreact and stop listening. It also prevents you from seeing the whole picture. During conversations, avoid critical comments and keep a positive outlook.