It’s funny that pretty much all of us would know of one bad listener in our lives. It’s probably because they are annoying, focused on their stories and not on what we have to share. Plus, we tend to remember good and bad experiences more compared to average ones. I can safely say that having someone that doesn’t listen to you when you are sharing, qualifies to be a bad experience.
Come to think of it, listening should be a fairly easy task to handle. Generally, you just got to drop whatever’s going on in your head and pay attention to that person speaking. But I guess, it seems easier than it actually is for some people.
I am sure we are all guilty of doing that as well, either occasionally or more frequently than we choose to remember. It happens at such an unconscious level that we don’t even know that we are doing it.
You’ll agree with me when I say that Listening can be an extraordinary tool. There’s a lot of learning, stops us from being judgmental when we let the other person express freely. In addition, everyone appreciates a good listener.
Now that doesn’t mean you would entertain people in your life that are full of negativity and consumer your mental real estate. You have to watch out and stay away from such people. On that note, you should read this article to know what sort of people you should drop from your life.
So, let’s see if you find yourself doing any of these things that can make you a bad listener.
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”–Karl A. Menniger
1. Being Selective
No, I don’t mean to refer to those people who zone in front of someone that rambles and goes on forever and then selective listens to some segments of the whole conversation. You can also read about how confident people avoid rambling on and on and other such traits.
Even when someone is having a meaningful conversation, you would focus only on the key-words and build your own understanding. In a general two-way conversation, you would respond either agreeing or disagreeing or paraphrase what you heard. When you have selective listened to the whole story and give your response, the opposite person can easily tell.
They would normally form a belief that you were not interested in what they had to say. They might even conclude that you only chose to listen to the parts that align with your pre-existing notion of them. Either way, you appear as a person that is not interested in listening.
It could be a bad thing because in the future some people might not want to share things with you if this is something they experience quite often.
2. Pretending To
We all know that trick. Your hands under the chin, serious or interested facial expression, and gazing eye contact. That does the job, at least in most cases. More often, you would be caught while you were daydreaming or preparing a mental response to their speech and not knowing what to say.
Of course, there could be days when you have a zillion things on your mind and that kept you off from listening. I’d normally excuse myself from a conversation when I can’t pay attention. Simply tell the other person that it’s not a good day. You might as well be the one sharing, and they pay attention to let it all out.
In addition, you wouldn’t be that fake person that only pays interest to someone when you want to. Rendering all other conversations meaningless. You will soon fall into that zone of realization thinking about why you do that. Plus, being a bad listener is disrespectful as well.
3. Too Eager To Respond Or Too Many Interruptions
I'll share a similar example that I shared from my Customer service times in my previous blog. We would have customers calling in and explaining what's going on. I was quick with learning and catching on to what they are typically heading towards. Hoping that they'd find it impressive, I'd slide in my response with a solution. To be honest, in most cases that'd backfire. They'd be like let me complete.
Although you might be a smart person but then you are not there to prove that you are smarter. That, someone, was sharing a part of day or life with you seeking that you would listen and understand. Being too eager to respond takes away your natural listening ability because all this time you were just being too busy framing sentences in your head. Duh!
Similarly, interrupting someone too often with either questions or gestures or because you were distracted for any reason will also put you in the same spot. Let’s just say that if we can’t dedicate that little bit of time to someone, it’s pointless offering to listen to one.
In The End
Well, in the end, we all want to share our happy thoughts, sad moments, exciting times, and stories full of joy, and we want the other person to equally enjoy the conversation. When we expect it that way, why choose to differ when it’s the other way around.
Remember to love better, help more, express often, and listen well. Won’t take too much away from you. You will get plenty in return, believe me now or find out later. Now go, don’t be a bad listener.
You can always come back later and comment here if you didn’t believe me at first. I’ll understand and appreciate the comment too.