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Fresh Living

Ear.jpgWhen Holly and I were talking about doing these listening tips, my biggest conversation pet peeve surfaced. It’s this: When you’ve started telling a story and the listener immediately chirps in and goes on with a related or semi-related tale about themselves, never acknowledging what you’ve just said. I imagine there’s a linguistic term for this (do you know it?), but mainly I just call it “invalidating” and “disconnecting.”

So, the listening tip is: The next time someone is telling you a story, when there’s a pause, resist the urge to jump in with your commentary. There will be time for that, but first acknowledge what they’ve said, by either empathizing (“wow, that sounds scary”), asking a related question that will help them continue the story (“then what happened?), or mirroring back to them what they’ve said (“so you’re saying you felt like you had to feed the iguana”). See how it goes.

Not to be all cheesy about it, but really listening is a rare, potent gift. Maybe the most valuable thing we have to give. Like a deep-tissue massage for the soul. 

Have you experienced this too? How do you handle it?

[Image via: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ear.jpg]

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