How many times have you listened to someone vent and already had your response in your head even as they were speaking? I have had this happen numerous times to me and have been the culprit as well. Many times we just don’t listen, really listen, to what that person is saying to us. Not every statement warrants a response. So often, when conversing, we listen to respond.
I am an opinionated person who more often than not speaks my mind, but I have learned that, at times, I just need to shut the hell up. Biting my tongue is not always easy but it needs to be practiced too. My opinion is not the end all and how I approach things is also not the only answer.
I have been on both sides of this. There are times I just need to let it out and I don’t want an opinion. I know that not every decision I make on this earth is the smartest or best decision, but until you feel what I have felt, you have to just try to understand and vice versa. Of course, some things are indefensible, and they warrant a tough response, I understand that too. People, including myself, also go into protective mode with those we love and say what we think the person wants to hear. But we need to realize that that may not always be the case and we might be giving an opinion on what we would do, how we feel. It’s always easier to be an armchair quarterback, isn’t it? You may be thinking I wouldn’t have done it that way or how could you let this happen to you or the most popular one, what were you thinking? Questions I have most likely already asked myself anyway. But what if we just stop for a second and think a little before we rebut?
I have a friend who has been going through a hard time with her partner. I was quick to respond what I think she should do, bashing him in the meantime, but a recent conversation made me think about what she was trying to say. I listened to her, really listened to her, and slowly started to understand what was bothering her. She didn’t need me to bash her ex, she was feeling lonely and sad, missing him, and didn’t need me lecturing her on top of that. I’ve been there too and at those times I did not want a lecture either, nor did I want to hear how bad so and so was for me and I’m better off without him. I already knew that. I just needed someone to listen to me, be positive and say you’ll get through it. I try to just support her now when she is upset and let her know that what she is feeling is normal. It’s perfectly okay to miss him, even if I don’t like how sad he makes her. I’ve been in her shoes, our exes are very much alike, and we’ve bonded over it. But most of all I’ve realized that even though we have shared experiences, I just need to listen to what she is saying. I let her vent and cry and I make sure that I do not listen to respond, but just listen. And tell her she will be okay.