Time for the holidays... and all that GIVING. For many of us, myself included, too often that giving includes advice, thoughts, sympathy, outrage along with the person I'm talking to, defending myself... lots of words... and though I hate to admit it, very little listening and very little actual time.
I attended a wonderful workshop recently, where we practiced active listening. Yes, this is a skill. (And a good one to have.) Our instructions were to just listen for a set period of time - say 5 minutes. We weren't to comment, interrupt, sympathize, or even respond after the fact. Just listen. It sounds super easy in writing about it, but let me tell you, it was a lot harder than it sounds.
So, this holiday, rather than giving your friend yet another battery operated cylindrical gift, try giving YOURSELF. Grab a friend. Tell them you just want to listen to them - for 5 minutes - 10 - maybe more. Let them talk. Listen. Allow them to meander their way through their thoughts. Give them your ear, your time, and your openness.