A friend once called me to vent: “I am so tired, I had so much work to do yesterday… before I could finish the laundry, cook…”then I interrupted… “that is small now, you need to have seen what I had to do and that is just the beginning, in fact…” then I took over the conversation, telling her how my case was worse than hers. Long story short she never got to finish the conversation.
Later in the day, I was speaking to someone else on another issue but she interrupted me and told me: “look at you, is it this trivial issue you are complaining about? You need to have seen me, my own is more serious…” then she went ahead to regale me on how her issue was worse than mine. I was not happy with the turn of the conversation because I had wanted someone to listen, like a sounding board for clarity but I was not allowed to even finish.
I discovered this was exactly what I have done earlier to the friend who called. When friends/family tell us things, it is not an avenue to one-up the person in a showmanship of who has it bad or an invitation for advice rather it’s an avenue to allow them vent and clear their minds.
Some people may not need advice, some do not want to know if you had it bad or good, neither will they want to know sometimes how you were able to handle the same issue, but just listen and if you have a similar story or something related to that situation, wait for another time to bring it up not during their own rant or moment.
We are not in a competition of who had it better or worse, sometimes people feel better to just say what is on their mind, just listening goes a long way in helping than giving advice or my own sob story. Listen long enough and you will know what is required of you because you will be asked.
Since then I have had times I literally had to bite my tongue to keep myself from offering unsolicited advice or one-upping someone’s story and I have had moments where I forget myself and launched into a tirade. In all I am growing and learning.
Have you listened to yourself during conversations and found yourself saying things like: “that’s nothing,” when you hear my own experience you will keep quiet e.t.c?Did you know you were doing it?
How do you keep yourself from talking less and listening more?
Do you have friends/families that butt into your flow in conversations? How do you tell them without sounding rude?
Do you think it’s even done knowingly or it’s a bad habit we picked up without knowing?
Let me hear you…