Sometimes we like to talk. Believe me, I fall into this trap a lot. We'll get excited about the topic and talk and talk about it. It's great to be excited about something, but sometimes we have to listen.
LISTENING MEANS NOT TALKING
When we fail to listen, we miss exactly one half of the conversation - the part coming from the other person. You'll find that listening opens up a whole new world. You can be introduced to things you never knew and find out things about the people you talk at daily that you'd never know.
LISTEN TO GOD, TOO
Our prayer life is something else that benefits from opening our ears. When we stop talking, we have to look into areas of our lives that we usually try to avoid fixing. But prayerful silence will not leave you feeling lonely and sad. Prayerful silence lets you experience the joy of hearing God.
LISTENING TO THE OPPOSITE SEX
This is where listening can be a challenge. But we can't group people into boxes. I can't say "Guys just don't talk." This is just too big of a generalization. Likewise, guys can't say, "Well, all the girls want to do is talk." It's too broad of a statement. It's like this list from lifeteen:
Guys, if a girl wants to talk that doesn’t make her “high maintenance.”
Ladies, a guy who’s unable to express his emotions doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s self-involved or that he doesn’t care.
Yes, women want to be listened to . . . but so do men!
Yes, women are often “better” at validating another’s feelings (i.e. nodding, affirming, repeating, agreeing, etc.) but much of that has to do with the way they socialize . . . just because many men don’t do that as naturally, it doesn’t mean they don’t care.
Yes, men often want to “fix” the problem, not just listen to it. Women want to fix it, too, but once they know that the man knows what the problem really is.
HOW DO WE START TO LISTEN?
The first way to start listening is to STOP. When someone is talking to you, just stop and listen. We oftentimes spend the time that another person is talking to formulate the answer that is going to make us sound the funniest, smartest, and best.
Another way to make sure your listening is to make eye contact with a person. In this way you can see that they are talking to you and that they have something to say.
Ask questions. When someone has finished their statement, only then say something that would relate back to the topic. Asking questions like, "Hello! How are you?" Open ended questions then call for an answer. So LISTEN to the person's response. Maybe they are going through some tough things and need a listening ear. Maybe they are having an issue and need your advice. You will not know unless you listen.
How do you listen to people? Let me know in the comment box below!