“Can I talk to you?”
It’s a simple and specific request, yet sometimes we, who are asked the question, misunderstand it. There are times when someone will come to you, telling you that they need someone to talk to and thought you would be the one. But there are times when we do them a disservice by doing one thing…
There are times when someone approaches you with an issue and they need your insight on how they should handle it, but a lot of times we need to realize that this is not the case. There are people that will seek not your words, but your ears. Every conversation is not meant for us to show off our wisdom or insight on the topic being discussed. It’s not every time that someone needs to hear that what they’re saying is far fetched. A lot of times, they already know that. Sometimes they just have something they’ve been holding in and they just need to let it out.
Here are three reasons silence is the sometimes the best response:
The less you speak, the more you can observe.
We all tend to do it. Someone is telling us something and something they say triggers a response and now until we find the end of their point, we’re forming our response in our head to respond to that point. You can miss out on something more important than what you’re holding onto. I’ve been in conversations where everything shifted because in observing that how the person was talking spoke louder than what they were saying. But if I was hooked only on their words, I would’ve missed that and only get surface deep with them rather than getting to the root issue.
People tend to feed you the rough draft, not the edited version.
I don’t know about you but a lot of times, things that don’t make sense escapes this mouth. I know when I’m at work or when I’m speaking to a crowd of people that I need to really process what I’m about to say to avoid making a fool out of myself or offending someone. But when I’m with my closest friends and something is boiling in me, I have in my mind that I’m in a safe zone where I can let out my unprocessed thoughts and not feel judged and allowed to filter them out. Sometimes, we don’t need to be quick to correct someone. A lot of times, they know what they said doesn’t make sense. We need to be careful not to make someone feel as if their feelings aren’t valid. Let them let it out. When they ask you, then you can filter the nonsense with them, not for them.
The speaker feels like you care about them.
Some people don’t listen well because they care more about being heard. This tends to come off as if you have no concern for the person standing in front of you but you care more about your point getting across. When you actively listen without interrupting the person, they feel as though you actually care about what they’re saying. They don’t feel as if they’re trying to prove a point. Instead, they feel like you are hearing what they’re saying and validating their feelings. This even allows more acceptance for when you do respond to them. They feel that you’ve given them a chance to say what they need to say and that your response is coming from an understanding of their perspective.
So next time someone approaches you asking to talk to you, don’t steal their spotlight. Keep quiet. Let them speak. Stick to questions that simply guide them to go deeper. Refrain from quickly correcting. Believe me. You’ll see the difference in their interaction with you. Stay blessed.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” -James 1:19