5 Ways To Improve Your Listening Skills
The best part of being in a friendship is the support you get from one another, especially in times of need. Having an open-invitation to vent is great perk to being a friend, but the act of listening is an even better gift to give and receive.
There is a huge difference between “hearing” and “listening”. And because we all have our own shit going on, whether it be work, school or relationships, I feel like people just don’t know how to listen anymore -- or even understand the importance of it.
That being said, here are my top 5 tips on how be a better listener.
Eye Contact and Body Language
Staring someone in the face might seem awkward, especially as an introvert. However, to most people, it doesn’t bother them. In fact, it is appreciated during heavy conversations, because it really lets the other person know you are present. Some other ways you can show you are listening is making sure your feet aren’t pointed toward the door, you aren’t fidgety or looking at your phone or over their shoulder.
Ask Questions (and Don’t Interrupt)
It is healthy to let your friend ramble, so let them get it all out. But show that you really care by asking questions about the situation during a natural pause. Make sure you don’t interrupt, especially when a thought is being formed or solution to the problem. Which brings me to my next point…
Deepen Your Empathy (and Keep Your Integrity)
Be compassionate, but do not offer an answer or unsolicited advice. Sometimes, people just need to let off steam. You are there to support your friend, so make sure you do not take over the conversation with your experiences, or something that happened to your cousin’s mother’s sister. That also means that everything your friend says stays confidential!
We are introvert’s, so this one should be easy. Silence is golden. However, make sure you are putting all other points above into action. Staying quiet may seem like you don’t care, and you don’t want to come off as bored or aloof!
Keep an Open Mind
This world is crazy, so you never know what you are going to hear. Your friend may need to talk about their boyfriend, or they may need to unload about something that is more intense. Nod your head, give appropriate responses and be objective with your feedback. This is your friend, after all, and they came to you because of your love and support for them, not your judgement.
We all could be better listeners if we put our own problems aside…especially if we use tools like these to help our friends through hard times. And think of it this way: one day, they will return the favor to you!