From a very young age, we are taught the 4 skills of the English language. LSRW(listening, speaking, reading, and writing). The first skill and most important being the listening skill. While we are not here to discuss the various skills of ENGLISH, we will surely discuss in this blog about the one important skill which makes a person a good listener- “the listening skill”.
-Why is it important to be a listener?
The answer for this question goes back to our childhood, we as children were curious and would ask numerous questions about things to our parents, teachers and they would kindly reply to us. But if we are silenced at a young age, would we ever speak again with the same zeal? Even as adults, we would bottle up our feelings. People develop a certain personality of not letting their thoughts or feelings out because they don’t trust the listener with the fear of being ignored by someone. But is it easy to live a life where you have to bottle up your feelings because you don’t find a reliable listener? A study by the Canadian Mental Health Association reveals that the primary treatment for depression or anxiety is psychological counseling, also called “talk therapy”. But what if someone can’t afford to pay for such therapy? This is where a family member or a friend can play the role of a listener and a counselor. We can support someone in our circle by just listening to what one is going through. In long term, the speaker may bore you, as he/she may not have anything new to tell you except their same thoughts, events that repetitively occur in their lives, or just the whole day’s routine. For them it might be the best time of the day, you might be the only one who listens, who gives them importance, so never underestimate the time which you give them as you might be unknowingly saving them from possible loneliness.
-How to be a good listener?
We do know that every skill has its technique. So what exactly is the technique for listening? We need to understand listening is not just keeping your ears open to what someone is saying and comprehending it. Some of the ways to do it are as follows:
1- Asking Questions
We all have that one person in our circle whose replies are very cold. No one would want to share anything with that person fearing the dead reactions. This would simply show their lack of interest, so to avoid being a lifeless listener, understand and ask questions, “why it happened?“ “how it happened?” etc.
2- Avoiding Interruptions
There is a simple rule which we’ve been learning since we were small, “waiting for the speaker to finish”. First, let the person get done with their part of the story then ask your set of questions but you can always interrupt when you literally didn’t understand something like “Wait, I didn’t understand this, can you clear?”
3- Choosing Your Words Wisely
At the end of the day, as friends, as a family, we need to listen and give solutions. So when we advise or suggest someone about something you need to watch your words. We can very plainly state that is “wrong” and this is “right”, but we are not in a court nor are you a lawyer. So, start resolving by respecting the speaker’s feelings in a soft tone rather than just bluntly stating “you are wrong here”.
Listening is just a simple skill but requires a lot of patience and kindness, especially when dealing with such people in your life. Don’t tag them as talkative, maybe they are just trying to seek succor in their otherwise messy life. As Mother Teresa said, “Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
By Habiba Amoudi