All Articles Tagged "listening"
You’ve been with your guy for about 6 months now, and you’ve even had the “boyfriend/girlfriend” talk (do people still do that?). Anyway, you think you know all there is to know about him – his mother’s maiden name, his likes and dislikes, his favorite cereal, etc. But men will never truly reveal everything to you, no matter how much he may like – or even love – you. It’s not that he’s keeping secrets or doesn’t trust you – it’s usually a case of him wanting to you to figure it out or just “know” him as time goes on. If you’re totally into him and care about him, there are some things you’ll just naturally pick up on; but if you have preconceived notions about your boo, you might not ever be able to understand him the way you possibly could. Whether it’s been months, or years, here are just a few things men won’t tell you – they just want you to “know.”
Venting can be like telling a really good joke. You know how it feels when you’re talking to a captive audience and you’re building up to your big moment. But all of that can go wrong when someone latches onto a key word, interrupts you and starts going off on their own tangent. Doesn’t it feel like the air has been let out of your balloon? All you can think is: ”I was just talking…”
That’s how people feel when they’re in the process of venting, but it’s magnified. You know those times when you’re just extremely upset, overwhelmed, and you call someone because you’ve been holding it in. Tears are brimming in your eyes, and when your loved one answers the phone, your voice starts shaking as you say: ”Do you mind if I vent to you?” You feel their compassion for you as they give you the go ahead, and then you start telling them about the frustrating misadventures of [insert your name here]. Then, within your first 20 words, you are brutally cut off with a barrage of demands on what you need to do to change your situation.
As in any civilized society there are rules to just about every scenario of conduct, and yes, there are rules to venting. Reader, can we vent about venting?
Now, venting can be a very emotional and vulnerable moment for some. You’ve been holding in your feelings, like the aforementioned balloon, you feel like you have too much air in you and you’re about to pop. To preserve your durable yet fragile shell, you attempt to let out some of the air that’s been bending you out of shape. So, when a person begins to let all that hot air out, it’s frustrating when someone tries to stop them.
First, let’s discuss this whole interrupting thing. When a person is venting, they’re doing so because they feel like their voice has been ignored. They might have been in a situation where they tried expressing themselves, but people talked over them or dismissed their feelings. When a person is venting to you and you interrupt them, you’re pretty much validating how other people have treated them, the same treatment that made them need to vent in the first place. It makes them think that they’re not worthy listening to and that doesn’t feel good.
Second, let’s talk about the emotional affect it has when said interruption happens while you’re spilling your guts to a person. When you’re in the middle of your rant, and someone starts talking over you, doesn’t it seem to multiply the feelings of frustration that you’ve already had? I like to call it emotional blue balling. Like a man, when they’ve been teased and almost brought to the point of no return just to have the person their with get up and walk away, it’s painful. (Well, I’ve been told, I don’t know.) It’s the same for a person who’s in the process of letting their heart out when someone just cuts them off. You’re already dealing with the frustration of your original state, and now you’re dealing with the let down of thinking you were about to finally let out some emotional steam just to be rebuffed.
Now, let’s go on to the useless demands and suggestions. Now, there’s a time and a place for everything, and when a person is in the middle of expressing how they feel, cutting them off and telling them what to do is not helping them, okay? First, there could more details to their situation that would be making your current demands null and void. You telling them to go off on their boss, when they’re about to tell you that they’ve been fired is a little pointless.
Also, telling them what they need to do (as if you’re in their situation) is an emotionally degrading feeling. It can sometimes make the ventee feel like the Bill Dautrive of the group. The person might not need to be saved. They might already know what they need to do to get their lives back on track, they just want to let off the steam of their former situation.
Now, if they ask for advice, or they’re done with their rant, then it’s fine to say: ”Hey, I think I might know something that might help.” But until that moment presents itself, just have an open ear.
Finally, to the ventee, there are rules too. If you feel like you need a vent, the moment the person answers the phone, don’t just burst into a barrage of “woe is me.” Ask for the permission first. Give people a heads up that you’re about to unload your baggage. Also, if they decline because they have their own things going on, don’t still try to force it on them anyway, or get mad. Everyone has their daily crosses to bear. Try someone else, or get it out by writing it down on your own. But trying to force someone to hear what you have to say is only going to cause resentment between you two.
Now you know, and knowledge it power. Now that you’re accountable, let’s do a little better, okay?
Kendra Koger always has an open ear for people to vent to. Vent to her in 140 characters or less on twitter @kkoger.
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Here’s a little unknown fact about me, I grew up with a speech impediment. I used to have a stuttering problem, which really began to suck, because I felt like I had so much to say, but people would get frustrated listening to me. Something that would take other people a few seconds to say would take me a few minutes. I began to get a rush out of conversations, my sisters became my interpreters and would have to become almost clairvoyant so they could tell people what I wanted in a shortened way. I actually had an uncle who would feel sorry for me when I was talking, and if he rushed me off he would come back and give me some money to make up for it. For years my pockets were loaded with guilt money, which was great for buying candy, but not for helping my verbal skills.
After going to a speech specialist when I was in preschool, I’ve been able to talk without stuttering… even though it tries to rear it’s ugly head whenever I get too flustered (hey, I think it’s cute, but wha-wha-wha-whatever). But an upside to not being able to speak correctly was that I was able to hone my listening skills. While people avoided conversations with me (how sad is that?), I would listen to conversations and arguments and would be able to see both sides. However, I did begin to notice a few things that baffled me about communication. A lot of arguments can be avoided if people adhered to the simple understandings of what true communication is. To me, communication is like a four way stop; it’s a breeze when all the parties participating know how to work it, but can be dangerous if people jump the gun. So to you, you amazing Madame Noire readers, here are a few things I would like to share about communication.
There is a difference between hearing and listening.
Have you ever been in a heated discussion (because you’re too classy to argue) and you make your point, and the person who is verbally combating you, says their side, and then you do your confused head tilt because you’re thinking: ”Wait, I just said that!” (And if that never happened, maybe I’m talking about you…) The person in question clearly wasn’t listening.
According to dictionary.com, one of the definitions of hearing is “the act of perceiving sound,” and listening is: ”give attention with ear… to pay attention.” Listening is an action, whereas hearing is passive. To better understand, see it this way: you might hear a song while you’re in a restaurant eating, but are you listening to it? Just because you hear what a friend is saying, are you really comprehending it?
So now that you know the difference, let’s take it a step further…
Listen to what a person is saying, instead of waiting for your turn to speak.
Oh, I feel your pain, this person just said or did something and you GOT something for them! You’ve got a verbal backhand in your mind, and all you’re doing is waiting for them to shut their mouth so you can put some baby powder on it and smack them with it! Well, before you do that, consider holding off your attack.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone has a point and their feelings are valid, but a lot of times, a lot of strife in communication is due to people just waiting for their turn to speak. They allow hurt and anger to stop them from listening to what’s being said to them and in turn their comments are not only unhelpful to the conversation, but they might continue to beat a dead horse. If you just listen to a person you might be able to understand their point, or you’ll be able to have an actual conversation with them instead of making some random comment that sets the conversation back ten minutes.
You and your man may enjoy a lap dance from time to time or get a kick out of tossing dollars (ones I hope) to Rick Ross’ latest mixtape but, let’s be honest, you hope to God never to see your daughter on one of those stages.
Strippers may be objects of infatuation in our hip hop-driven millennial culture, but the dark cloud of filth and (assumed) promiscuity still looms over the “profession.” As a parent, undoubtedly, one of your goals is to raise a daughter of whom you can be proud—which means you also want to keep her off of the pole.
Keeping your daughter off the pole in today’s society requires more than it did 10, 20 years ago. So, here are few tips to help you get a head start as a parent myself:
Build self-security rather than self-esteem.
Although all of us were created equally in humanity, each of us has been blessed with various talents and attributes in different ways. Some women are more physically attractive than others and garner more male attention as a result. Others are more gifted intellectually. And, the women who we like to deem the really lucky girls appear to have both. It is critical to empower our daughters to be comfortable in the skin in which God created them—nothing more, nothing less. She was given a unique set of DNA to be herself. Unlike self-esteem, self-security does not focus on empty compliments and vanity. Rather, it about inner beauty and self-assurance that translates into confidence and magnetism instead of cries for peer validation. The amount of substantial compliments given should greatly outweigh the superficial. Highlight her knack for organization. Build up her ability to solve problems quickly. Those traits matter in the long run. After all, what does the pretty girl who places all value in what people think of her outward appearance have left over in the case of a physically-altering accident?
By Guest Blogger, Tamara Smith
As many women may know (well, maybe not enough of us know), there can be a thin line between expressing concern and nagging. Many of us feel like we are simply communicating our feelings, while our significant other might very much disagree. Looking back over the years at my unsuccessful relationships, I have come to the conclusion that although I’m a successful, independent black woman, I can also add successful nagger to the list of things I’ve become. For every hint of unpleasantness in my relationships, I felt like it was my duty to voice my opinion nonstop (nag) and find possible solutions to my unhappiness whether I was ready to be heard or not (nag some more). Since then, I’ve learned a few things about the right and wrong ways to get your man to listen to you, how to keep myself from needing to nag, and pretty much how to become a better communicator in my relationships. I thought I would share them with you now that I’ve come so far in my recovery. *smile* And this can pertain to men too, just take the female part out and flip it around, because we know you love to nitpick at your significant other as well…
It’s best not to find fault in everything
Naggers are almost never happy. When things seem to be going too smoothly, “The Nagger” seeks something to complain about–gym bag on the floor, a dish not washed, a phone call, etc. Please allow me to convince you to calm your nerves and relax. Relationships are breeding grounds for drama, but when the coast is clear, just enjoy each other. So what he showed up for your date 10 minutes late wearing the green shirt he knows you can’t stand? You can’t always get what you want in this life, so it’s best in your relationship to learn the right and wrong things to let go.
Wait before you nag …
Sometimes when you think you’re hungry and it’s time for a little snack, if you’d just wait 10-15 minutes, you sometimes find out that you weren’t that hungry after all. The same concept can be applied to the hunger to nag. If you walk away from your anger to collect your thoughts, you might not feel the need to nag anymore. If you just walk away from a potential conflict, ponder over whether it’s that necessary to bring up, or even wait until the next day to assess how you feel about something he may or may not have done, you might end up being surprised at how much you don’t really care about it after all.
SILENCE is the best form of nagging
I’ve realized the moment you stop talking, your words become louder. With that being said, you don’t have to go on and on forever, following him around the house and standing in front of the TV with your nagging. Just make a clear point in a calm manner and simply just stop talking. However, you may continue to be completely annoyed or aggravated by his behavior, but it’s best not to keep bringing it up. Men can’t stand when their woman is upset (unless they’re cold-hearted) and usually will give into your request. However, when your request is paired with nagging, your feelings can go in one ear and out the other. Nagging is an easy way for a man to ignore you, but when you make your point clear and let him know how he’s made you feel without all the extra stuff, he’s more likely to pay attention.
Nobody enjoys nagging
There is nothing alluring about being unhappy in a relationship. Contrary to popular male belief, a woman doesn’t enjoy nagging, but your man clearly has a hand in why you nag so much. It’s a subconscious thing our mouth does when our heart realizes that our man isn’t satisfying our needs, or for the control freak, when he’s not doing exactly what we want. So while your nagging is aggravating him, you’re aggravated by always feeling the need to remind him to help out, show up and take your feelings into consideration. Well, you know what they say about nagging: it takes two to tango (okay, well maybe no one says that, but it’s true).
Maybe you should stop nagging and consider moving on…
If you find yourself constantly bringing up issues to your partner who always fails to respond or change for the better, it may be time to review your relationship in general. Do you really want a partner who doesn’t want to communicate and doesn’t take your concerns seriously? After being in various courtships, I’ve realized that when the nagging starts, the value of the relationship has diminished. While repeating yourself may be fun for some, I’d prefer to communicate my feelings one, maybe two times and be able to get tangible feedback from my significant other. If you’re always nagging and he’s always ignoring your thoughts and opinions, maybe he’s not so significant after all.
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A majority of the arguments we find ourselves in stem from a miscommunication of some sort. And miscommunications stem from not listening properly. While you may hear what a person says and even be able to repeat what they say, it doesn’t mean that you fully listened and received the general spirit of the message that person was trying to deliver.
Your Tango.com put together a list of 12 behaviors and attitudes that prevent us from listening the way we should. Even if you’re a decent listener, you’re bound to see yourself in this list. Check it out and start listening better, today.
If a cutie tries to talk to you at a party, do you get so nervous that you run the other way? Does the thought of talking to new people at an office picnic make you break into a cold sweat? You may be dealing with a case of the bashfuls. While there’s nothing wrong with being shy, it can keep the world from knowing what an amazing personality you have! Overcoming shyness is not about changing you who are, but rather changing your actions to better connect with people. As someone who has struggled with shyness, I can tell you that it can be an obstacle both personally and professionally. Career-wise, being too timid can keep you from networking effectively, speaking up in meetings, and can even make you seem incapable of leadership. On a personal level, being shy can keep you from meeting new friends and can make dating even more uncomfortable. However, you can overcome your self-consciousness to become more assertive and self-assured. Here are some tips to begin your journey.
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