So….. you know how you’ve been moping around, feeling like every time you try and tell someone what is going on with you they can barely keep up? Their eyes glaze over or they interject with how they are going through the same thing but what’s happening to them is actually worse than what you are going through?
Welcome to the world of bad listeners. Now, before you clap and look at everyone around with those judgmental eyes, stop and ask yourself if you are a good listener. Chances are you#re not so good at it either!
Do you ever do any of the following?
- Lead with advising before they are even done talking: ‘Why don’t you just call him and talk it out? Open communication is the best thing!’ – Hold your horses their buddy, you don’t know the whole story or why she is hesitating, you’re trivialising the issue here.
- Minimizing their pain: ‘You think you’re having it bad?! Do you know how many miles I had to walk to school in the snow and the rain with no shoes on?!’ (African parents !) – Okay, so things were pretty bad for you, but we are talking about me here, CAN WE FOCUS! This can also look like ‘ Why are you even stressing don’t you know that everything always works out in the end?’ – How does a punch in the face work out for you Suzy?!
But how does BEING a bad listener affect YOUR mental health?
When people identify you as a bad listener they can no longer be open and vulnerable with you. You are not the best person to come to when they need help or simple comfort. That means they will not allow YOU to be vulnerable with them either. Who wants to hear the heart of someone that dismisses the heart of another?
Where does that leave you?
There is no one to empathise with you.Lonely.Stressed.Relationships in shambles.Mental health in the bin because of poor relationships with friends and family. Mental health is much more complex than just the friendships you have, but it is a large part of it. Relationships help shape who we are. Connecting with other people in a healthy way is crucial to our wellbeing. It is not just the number of relationships but the quality, and being a good listener enhances the quality of relationships.
So the next time someone opens up to you, really listen. Your own mental health is at stake. Prioritise the listening aspect of your relationships and see your mental health flourish.
Want more on this subject? Don’t forget to catch up with the podcast! Tea time with Twaambo