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Learn This One Easy Trick To Show That You Are A Good Listener

Learn This One Easy Trick To Show That You Are A Good Listener

Most people think that they are good listeners, but sadly this isn’t always the case. Lots of people find themselves thinking about other things when someone is talking to them, or they are just waiting for their chance to speak.

If you can relate to this, you should try to work on your listening skills. Being a bad listener makes life harder, as listening helps us to understand others and empathize. It also helps you to increase your interactions with the outside world so that you can improve your communication skills and build meaningful relationships.

Thankfully you only need to learn one thing to become a good listener.

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The Problems That Stand In The Way Of Being A Good Listener

There are lots of things that make people bad listeners, but one of the main issues is impatience. Impatient people struggle to be good listeners, as they are not fully involved in what the other person is saying. Instead of listening to their friend, they are just waiting for their chance to talk. As soon as there is a pause in the conversation they will interrupt their friend or cut them off.

Another problem is getting distracted easily. When someone starts talking, the other person is fully focused, but after a few minutes they are no longer listening because they are focused on something else, such as a text message or a bird flying past.

Another issue is tiredness. Some people are normally good listeners, but they become bad listeners in the evening when they are too tired to focus on what the other person is saying.

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Can you relate to any of these listening problems? Many people think that they are good listeners, but in reality they think too highly of themselves. If you want to know if you are a good listener, ask your partner or your best friend or your housemate and see what they say. This will give you an honest answer, and it may also help you to work out the cause of your listening problems.

How To Become A Good Listener

The one thing that you need to do to become a good listener is to repeat other people’s words. If you are hanging out with your friend and they say, “I don’t like my next door neighbor’s cat because it is always scratching my door,” you could say “The cat scratches your door? – Does it do that every day?” When you repeat what the other person is saying, you show them that you are listening properly and that you care about the conversation.

The main reason why this works so well is because it is active listening rather than passive listening. Instead of being a silent member of the conversation, you are actively taking part in the discussion and trying to understand the other person.

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What You Need To Do Now

It is easy to implement this listening trick into your daily life. Simply make sure to repeat some of the most relevant things that the other person is saying. You can also add an element of support and validation when you repeat the other person. For instance if someone said, “I was told off at work for someone else’s mistake and it was really frustrating,” you could say “You were frustrated that you were told off, I can understand that. I imagine I would feel the same way!”

While this listening trick is very effective, it is important to moderate how often you repeat other people. You want to seem like a supportive, good listener, not an annoying person who repeats everything!

It can also be useful to summarize when someone has finished telling you a story. This will reassure them that you understood what they said, and it also gives you the chance to clarify what you have heard.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pexels.com

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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