Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Be A Good Listener

In order to be a true friend to someone, you must be a good listener.  All of the conversations can't be about you.  Rather, you must be willing to listen to that person and understand their perspectives.  If the relationship is all about you, then the other person will grow weary and feel unimportant at some point.

Everything your friend does is probably NOT going to be exciting or interesting for you, but that's where compromise is important.  The same thing applies concerning you.  Some of things you do are not really important to your friend, but a true friend will  be there for you to share your experiences and hear what you like.

I like watching Major League Baseball games on television, but I also know that a lot of people are 'bored to death' watching it.  Some people like to collect all kinds of frog figurines.  That doesn't interest me in the least, but if I have a friend who collects frogs, I'm going to be thinking about that person when I see a unique frog figurine and I may buy it for them if I know they don't have that one.  You should do things, because you care about that person, whether or not, you have the same likes or dislikes.

You MUST know the NEEDS of a person before you can help them.  You must listen to people to understand what needs they have.  Let's say that I have a friend who doesn't like baseball at all.  If I gave them 4 tickets to see the Yankees and Rangers play, would that really be a good gift?  Only if they could sell the tickets and make some money.  Your gift must be something that they enjoy in order for it to fulfill a need.  If your friend is needing to feel accepted and you tell them, "Just do it and don't worry about what people think," have you made them feel any better?  Absolutely NOT!  You need to reassure them that people are going to find them interesting, or give them ideas on how to be accepted.

When you are in the middle of conversation, stop and listen to what the other person is saying.  Don't just sit there, waiting to tell them what you want to say, not caring about what they have to say.  Your response needs to show that you heard what they had to say and you either what to confirm that, or voice an alternative view.  This applies to conversations between friends or business partners; between a parent and child; between a teacher and student, or between a manager and an employee.

Your relationships will be greatly improved when you are a good listener!

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