Excellent listeners

I have a few friends who are excellent listeners. They’re not just good at receiving, but at making people feel received.

They listen attentively without interrupting.

They ask questions that show they’re engaged and curious.

Then they actually listen to the answers to those questions. That’s important because you can tell they’re not just checking off a conversational to-do list in their heads that includes “asking questions to seem curious”.

Major points all around for listening. But one thing I’d love for these friends to do better is expect the people they’re conversing with to also listen to them.

They’re such excellent listeners, and they’re so aware of how shitty most people’s listening skills are, that they don’t hold the people they’re speaking with to any standard.

They don’t request - or at least feel they’re worthy of - the same attention they so generously give to others.

If someone you’re talking to has awful listening skills - so bad in fact that you find yourself wondering why you’re even speaking words in their presence, chances are they don’t know.

You, my precious listener, could do them a favour and tell them. Nobody else will, and you’ll be offering them a chance at improving a skill that will up-level them in every arena of their lives. Doesn’t have to be rude. Can just be ‘I’m curious: Did you actually hear anything I just said?’ or ‘Has anyone ever told you you’re a horrible listener?”. Oh wait, I guess that’s kind of rude?

If they’re really that bad, you don’t have much to worry about because they won’t hear what you said anyway.

Remember: You will continue to get what you continue to put up with.

Feeling heard feels amazing. You give that gift to others, and you deserve to have it given back to you in return.


Jen Boyle