Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are you listening?

Tonight, when Andy came home feeling agitated, he wanted to share details of his frustration at work.  I think I did a good job of listening.  And at the same time, I fear a quickness to advise or try to "help him see a different perspective".  Maybe one day, I will  just listen without even considering the offer of unsolicited advice or the other perspective.

As a teacher, a parent, and a compassionate human, I have benefited immensely from the book:  How To Talk So Kids Will Listen,  How to Listen So Kids Will Talk.  Additionally, I look forward to reading The Lost Art of Listening.  When someone is feeling uncertain and needs to feel heard and understood,  this is an unpromising opportunity to try to broaden their thinking.  It is however, a perfect opportunity to strengthen(or diminish) trust.  Because really,  we don't value information supplied by those we don't trust.  Right?

In my mother's family, there is the unique custom of assuming a position of devil's advocate.  I understand the value in considering an opposing angle.  However, in my experience: Without  a sense of regard  for my experience, I lack interest in "the other side".

In response to feeling dismissed,I become defensive. Call me oversensitive, but when I am feeling mistreated or threatened, I crave comfort more than wisdom.  Comfort being someone listening with interest and free from judgment.  Its a lot to ask....and often difficult to do when in the listener's seat.

I have the good fortune of knowing better and choosing to resist the inclination toward Devil's advocate when someone is confiding in me.


  1. Good advice and thanks for sharing..

  2. Maggie! (This is Leslie...) I know EXACTLY what you mean! My mother... my ENTIRE life... cannot just listen to anything. I'll complain to her and her only response is "well there has to be more to the story than that" or "well I'm sure that's not exactly how it happened." And I KNOW it's not just me because Megan hates that she does it too! I got mad all over again just reading this... haha :)


Your thoughts are welcome here. As long as they are kind. Or maybe just not unkind.