Bad Listener Trait Number One

Number one:  Interrupt all the time

This one is a sure favorite and one I am guessing we are all guilty of from time to time.  Isn’t it frustrating when you are trying to share something and the person is constantly interrupting?  There are many reasons a person might interrupt you. Some interruptions are valid when you are seeking clarification, “Did you say you handed that in ten days ago?”   Interrupting for clarification a time or two can show you are really listening and wanting to make sure you heard the person correctly.  However, even this can be bothersome if the person constantly has to stop and clarify.  The person talking may decide to shut down or may tell you to let them finish their story and then allow you to ask your questions. However, many interruptions don’t originate from such good intentions.  Often a person interrupts because they are impatient with the story teller, wants to correct them, prefers to argue the point, or they may be so narcissistic that they can’t bear the focus to be on someone else.

If you struggle with interrupting others I encourage you to make a conscious effort to stop or reduce the frequency.  Certainly seeking clarification from time to time is important.  However, try just staying with the person’s story.  Listening is not about agreeing with the person, it’s about respecting their viewpoint.  Remember the person is sharing their perspective, not necessarily yours.  And that is ok!  Also, remain alert to let them finish a thought before you interject.  You can even count to three before you respond to be sure they are done with that part of their sharing. Decreasing interruptions is a good start to becoming a better listener.

 

Advertisements

Things Not to Say to People Who are Grieving – #1

Grief 3

1.         “I know how you feel.”

 When someone is going through a loss they are often consumed by feelings that are indescribable and overwhelming.  Even if you have experienced the same type of event, such as the death of a parent or the loss of a job, this doesn’t mean that your emotional reactions to the event will be the same.  While a miscarriage for one person may have little impact; for another it may spiral her into a significant period of grief.  And while you may “know how they feel” the one grieving needs to be heard first and foremost.  The grieving person needs your listening ear and comforting shoulder.   This is about them.  Keep the focus on them and off of you.  You can share some of the commonalities you have from your similar experiences at a later time when the grieving person’s feelings aren’t so raw.

To the griever: Your feelings are uniquely your own and nobody can fully understand the depth of your suffering. Even those who are also experiencing the same loss may be grieving differently than you.  Your grief deserves its own attention.  If someone tells you they know how you feel in a way that makes you feel minimized or dismissed, move on to someone else who can give you the support and comfort you need.  This is a confusing time and it is important you talk to people you feel can handle you right where you are.  If you know someone who has been through a similar experience and that brings you comfort; then by all means lean on them.