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Celebrate Talking and Listening
There are a few things I’ve been thinking about recently. Talking and Listening. Simple things. And I love the simple things of life. So I am saddened that neither things are happening quite in the way that they used to. Technology has taken over and picking up the phone seems somehow outdated, people don’t do it any longer. Texts can ping pong back and forth and sometimes it is simply easier to talk.
I know it is said that people are communicating more than ever. But is it quantity or quality?
From time to time people would welcome more than a three word ‘How are you?’ If you think about someone you haven’t seen for ages and care about, ring. You don’t know what is going on in their lives. People don’t generally text ‘I can’t cope’, ‘I’m ill’, ‘something made me laugh today’, ‘I’m happy’.
We all live busy lives so we don’t get to see friends and family as much as we’d like, but a telephone call is a good subsitute. So why not make a cup of tea or coffee, pick up the phone to a friend and have a coffee with them. And if they’re out, then have that quiet time with yourself!
Then there’s talking. And listening.
What happened to conversation. Someone I met told me he was moved at one dinner party, when a woman was monologuing about herself, to say ‘you might find it works better if you ask a question, I answer, then I ask a question and you answer’. Because of this I’ve ocasionally come away from meeting a friend depressed and stressed rather than uplifted and happy.
Sharing is far less stressful and enjoyable than people butting in and not listening.
Learn to listen. And really listen. When I work with people they sometimes say, ‘thank you for listening, for the first time I feel heard’. And that with all the frenetic noise of technology and the busy world it is often the one thing people yearn for: to be heard; to be understood.
Perhaps I’m a good listener – and I admit I like to find out about people’s lives and how peope are – but I do value the generosity of spirit and exuberance of a conversation, learning about things, people and laughing together.
It works. Try it. Celebrate it. Be old fashioned.