I have a coffee mug that says, “What people really need is a good listening to.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Everyone has a story and most are eager to share it with someone who genuinely cares. In a friendship, once you get past the introductory phase of agreeing on most everything and relating to each other by sharing your initial stories, you start to settle in to a real relationship. Because you know this friend so well, it can be tempting to assume you know where her story is going or what she needs to hear from you.
Try your best to just listen, asking questions if you need to, but not getting ready to pounce with an answer or your own version of the same events. This will cause some actual silence when she’s done, because you are just now allowing yourself to think about a response. It may feel awkward, but resist the temptation to jump in to fill the silence.
The magic in this? Two things: she might jump in with more than she ever planned to say, and when you’re ready your words in return to her will be full of respect and love, not full of you.
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