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The Power of Active Listening: How to Build Stronger Connections
Listening is a fundamental social skill that we all struggle with implementing in our daily lives. It may seem easy in theory, but in practice, it can be much more challenging. Instead of actively listening, we often focus on formulating our response when we’re engaged in a conversation. This can lead to frustration, leaving us feeling unheard and unimportant.
If you’re like me, you can probably think of someone who talks over you, corrects your thoughts, and steers the conversation towards their own agenda. For me, it was my ex-partner who always interrupted me, needing to correct my thoughts or concepts without allowing me to fully express myself. It became a source of tension between us, and we often found ourselves in heated arguments. We eventually realized that our communication styles were fundamentally incompatible.
Looking back, I can see that I also struggled with active listening. While I tried to absorb what my ex was saying, I found myself waiting to speak, anticipating my chance to interject my own thoughts. This resulted in a lack of engagement in the conversation and a weakened connection between us.
But the truth is, we can all benefit from practicing active listening. Taking the time to listen to others makes them feel valued and appreciated. It shows that you’re interested in what they have to say and that you value their opinion. It also allows you to gain a better understanding of the person you’re speaking with, which can be invaluable in building strong relationships.
While we can’t always control who we’re speaking with, we can always control our approach. By making a conscious effort to actively listen, we can defuse tension and lead to more positive outcomes. Of course, there may be times when we’re dealing with unreasonable people who may not reciprocate our listening efforts. It’s important to recognize when a conversation is no longer productive and to disengage from it.
Always listen, don’t wait to speak. Compose your answer by truly engaging with the person speaking. It’s a fundamental social skill that can have a significant impact on your personal and professional relationships. By taking the time to listen, you’ll not only make others feel important but also gain valuable insights and build stronger connections. So let’s all make a conscious effort to be better listeners and see the positive impact it can have on our lives.