I just want you to listen – please don’t solve my problem
LISTENER - If you give advice, when someone hasn’t explicitly asked for it, it’s considered unsolicited advice – and it’s rarely welcome. And, it conveys to the other person that she isn’t capable of solving her own problems. Instead, just listen. You can say “I have some ideas about how you can solve that if you’re interested” to plant an ear-bug. But, unless she comes back around and asks for your ideas at a later time, your ideas should never see the light of day.
TALKER – If this happens quite frequently, try to start your communication by explicitly stating “I just want you to listen, to know what I’m thinking and feeling. Please don’t try to problem solve.”
I just want you to listen to my story – please don’t shift it to a similar story that you’ve had
TALKER – Let the other person know that you want to finish your story (“Hey, please let me finish!”). If this happens frequently, then at another time sit down and explore the give-and-take dynamics of the relationship to balance talk time for the both of you.
I just want you to listen – please don’t assume (mind read) that you know what I want/need
TALKER – If the listener’s attention has wandered, you can stop and ask whether she can really listen at this time, especially if this is a spur of the moment conversation. It helps to schedule a time that is free of distractions, time crunches, and HALT (being Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) to be sure that listening can really take place.
Photos - Creative Commons (Michael Coghlan, Anna L Martin and David Debsloe respectively)