As mentioned in a previous article on “listening”, doing it properly is no easy feat. It requires If we are in “the zone” of actively listening to a friend or family member having a difficult time, chances are they will feel better, even if it is only momentarily, but the listener is often left in a flurry, or a heap.undivided attention, not only to the words but the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions.
The bad news is, “the zone” was probably just a little to the left.
As listeners, we tend to get caught up in offering solutions or trying to make the speaker feel better. Often times, the friend or family member in a difficult time, needs to vent; neither solutions nor a pep talk may be sought, yet that is exactly what we aim to do.
While this is noble, the listener may feel taken advantage of – especially if the solutions offered require time and energy from the listener beyond the conversation. When we are actively put in a listener role, we have the responsibility – both to ourselves and the speaker – to determine what our purpose is. This can be done through a direct question, or by careful listening for cues.
It is important to identify our roles in each conversation to ensure we do not feel taken advantage of and the listener feels supported in the way that is most needed at that time.