How did it go? Were you able to spend more time listening to your spouse and others? Any struggles or obstacles?

wife wincing

One issue I have is with people who talk a lot with no real direction to what they are saying. There are so many words it’s hard for me to stay focused, sort of like drowning in all the noise. Generally, I wait a while and then ask for a “bottom line” so I understand what they are talking about or what it is they want from me. 

The other problem I have is when I’m having a conversation with folks who don’t say much. Reality is, people are who they are and you have to work with it. I carry the conversation if I must, and do my best to engage them with a question or two.

The other thing I struggle with (especially with my sweetie) is finishing other people’s sentences. If they pause, I fill in. There are days I focus on not finishing sentences. Really.

I’m also good at jumping in. Someone will say something and I have a supporting idea and I jump right in when they take the smallest of breaths. Now I work to wait for longer pauses that signal they are done expressing their thoughts.

Boy howdy, I do have a lot to say about this! Another thought …

I think it takes withholding judgement and dropping expectations to really listen. The nice thing about listening is you don’t have to agree with someone to listen to them and understand. I’m not saying don’t examine and judge things, I’m saying that to listen well requires a certain amount of focused attention. It’s helpful just to set down where you think the conversation might go or the need to correct what is being said and just listen. You can always share your viewpoint later.

Give some thought to your listening experiment today and see if you can narrow down on any problem issues. More practice tomorrow.


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