AFFIRMATION: Smart Girls Know How To Be A Good Listener

Sit back in your chair, or bed, or sofa. Close your eyes. Now LISTEN.

There are noises all around us. Music. TV. The hum of our computer. Traffic outside our window. An airplane flying overhead.

We’re bombarded with so many noises at any given time that most of us are pretty good at tuning out the world when we need to. But how do we handle it when we’re called on by our friends or family to tune in and listen?

Think about it. What did you do the last time your BFF cried on your shoulder about her crush crushing on someone else? Or when your brother or sister shared frustration over an incident at school? Or when a classmate complained to you about something going on in his or her personal life?

We might think we’re good listeners. We look at the person talking to us. We nod our head and throw in a few “uh huh’s” or “wow’s” at the appropriate times. But are we really hearing what’s going on? The reality is, most of us could use some improvement when it comes to tuning in to those around us.

Not truly listening to a friend or loved one can result in all kinds of problems:

  • misunderstanding what another person is going through
  • hurting someone else’s feelings
  • making assumptions based on the wrong info
  • giving people the people the impression we don’t care
  • sending out the signal that what we have to say is more important than what others say
  • losing out on future opportunities to be there for our friends when they need us most

One of the great things about being a good listener is that we start to get more out of our relationships. It’s really fascinating how it works, but truly being there for a friend turns us into the kinds of friends that others would do anything for.

Being a Good Listener

So, the next time a friend comes to you needing to talk, try out these listening techniques and see how they change the experience for you:

  • focus on what your friend is saying and don’t think about what you’re going to say next or in response while he or she is talking
  • head nods and facial expressions are a great way to let someone know that you’re tuning in
  • take a breath and count to three before speaking to make sure that your friend has finished their thought
  • ditch the high-tech gadgets and have important conversations face-to-face face, making eye contact with your friend while they’re sharing their thoughts
  • if you’ve got to talk on the phone, don’t multitask – turn of the computer, close the books and focus on the conversation
  • ask your friend what he or she needs from you – advice, insight, a different point of view – and then try to give them what they need

* * * * *

If you haven’t already done so, visit Smart Girls Know and check out my new posting, Lost Locker Files #1. From time to time I’ll be posting old essays and writings from my teen years that my mom just found in a box under my bed in my old house.

And don’t forget to share your thoughts on teens and stress for my new book here. If you’re interested in possibly being interviewed for the book, send me an with your contact info (name, age, city, email) and I’ll be in touch!

1 Comment »

  1. Smart Girls Know Update Said,

    February 3, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

    […] Listen: Who doesn’t like to feel as though they’re being heard and understood? When a friend opens up about what’s happening in her life (both the good and the bad), be a good listener by not judging, interrupting, or responding by turning the conversation to yourself. For more on being a good listener, click here. […]

Leave a Comment