Updated: May 3, 2021
Our world has shrunk. In some cases to our place of work, the commute and an occasional supermarket trip. In others, our world is now our home and getting glammed up once a week to go shopping. The pain of what is happening to us and others can, on some days, feel like its wrapped around us like a duvet but without any of the comforting warmth.
As soon as we are thinking about how to fix the problem we have, effectively, shut down one of our ears and are no longer listening fully to our friend. We’re now focussed on solutions rather than listening.
We may start asking well meaning but leading questions such as
- ‘Have you tried ….?’
- ‘What about ….?’
These are sneaky questions – these questions are directive and take our friend down a path that we have mapped out for them.
We’ve all had this experience – the time when you need a sounding board and just need to talk something through but, instead, receive lots of ‘fixes’ and suggestions. The impact can then be that you don’t feel listened to.
The best question to help us fully listen isn’t a question at all.
- ‘Tell me more.’
By using this prompt, you have given your friend a strong signal that you’re there to listen and that she has your full attention. There is now an opportunity for her to explore the problem more widely.
Put the kettle on.