Conntecting the Dots

Friendship Friday — Advice about Becoming a Better Listener, by Judy Dippel

Meet author and speaker Judy Dippel. Her passion is to help women appreciate life’s ordinary and recognize the extraordinary. She speaks to real women, with real issues, needing real solutions—of which, she is one! She says, “I will never arrive and have it all together, but thankfully God does.” Learn more about her at www.judydippel.com

Judy authored Friendship Interrupted: Challenges and Practical Solutions—What You Can Do. In the article below, she’s offered some sound advice about how we can learn to be better listeners for our friends. Read on to learn how you can enter to win a copy of her book.

Listening To Friends So That You Really Hear Them

Henry David Thoreau said, “It takes two to speak truth—one to speak and another to hear.” Even though it’s important, we don’t always give friends the “gift” of listening carefully to them. Think about it the next time you’re with a friend? Are you a great listener or could you improve? I know I could improve, so I consciously work at it. I haven’t totally arrived!

What does listening say to your friend? It says, “I’m putting you first because I care about you.” Allowing friends to vent helps lighten their burdens. As women, we all need trusted friends we can depend on to listen to us, and our friends need the same. It also tells them, “I want to know you and understand who you are, unedited.”

Deliberate listening helps you understand the depths of a friend’s feelings, their point of view and life experience—with empathy, which is something that is essential for healthy friendships.  Listening builds and grows friendships, and shows acceptance and respect. Psalm 17:6 directs us to listen: “Incline your ear to me, hear my speech.”

What you can do to become a sincere and better listener?

•                Choose to take the time to really hear others as you listen to them.

•                Learn to listen with an ear of love, respect, and acceptance. Listen with your heart!

•                Make the choice to view situations and experiences from your friend’s perspective,               experiences, and world view, rather than limiting it only to your own.

•                As you listen, ask questions to clarify and verify what you hear to be certain you are                    accurately and fully understanding.

•                Relax when you listen so you can take in everything that is said without distraction.

•                Whether on the phone or in person, avoid doing other things while you are listening at              the same time. Give your full attention to what is being said so friends feel valued and  know they are your priority.

•                Model the way you listen after someone who listens well to you.

Avoid the following things as you strive to become a better listener:

•                Pay attention to times you interrupt another person. Apologize out loud and tell yourself to stop when you are tempted to interrupt again.

•                Don’t jump ahead and reach your own conclusions; let friends finish talking, completely.

•                Avoid making assumptions or adding your own spin regarding others’ lives.

•                Fight the urge to speak over someone else while they’re still talking. This cuts them off and devalues them.

•                Break the habit of finishing other people’s sentences for them, even if you’re certain what they are about to say. You’re wrong more often than you think, and you’re                                      guaranteed to miss a lot when you take over the conversation. You rob them of the                                       opportunity to speak their own mind.

Consciously be a friend who can be counted on to listen. This habit will bring you the priceless rewards that come from true and trusted friendships.   www.judydippel.com

Readers–enter to win a copy of Judy’s book by leaving a comment here. What tip means the most to you?

10 Responses to “Friendship Friday — Advice about Becoming a Better Listener, by Judy Dippel”

  1. Joan Schmidt

    Sounds like a grat book!
    I think that “Avoid making assumptions or adding your own spin regarding others’ lives” is the one I need to work most on.

    Reply
    • Grace

      Yes, Joan, making assumptions or adding your own spin regarding others’ circumstances, etc is a sure-fire way to hurt or hinder a friendship. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      Reply
  2. Janice

    Do not finish their sentences speaks to me. I tend to do that in an attempt rush things along. But I know when people finish my sentences, they don’t always conclude what I was going to say. Best to allow that person to complete their thought

    Reply
    • Grace

      Thanks for your input, Janice. I think we can all learn from this suggestion. Often we’re planning our next words rather than truly listening to others.

      Reply
  3. Michelle

    What a great article…it was a perfect reminder for me to focus on the person with whom I’m speaking…I honestly believe that listening to someone is one of the greatest gifts we can give someone, but I fall short of that when I’m distracted by other things. Thanks for the reminder – my goal for today is to phone my Mom and Grandma and really listen to them, without being on the computer or doing anything else. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • Grace

      Yes, focusing on the other person can be tough. I like that you were going to implement this suggestion immediately with your family members. You win the book!

      Reply
  4. Johnna Leach

    What an awesome article! The tip that means the most to me is, “Make the choice to view situations and experiences from your friend’s perspective, experiences, and world view, rather than limiting it only to your own.”

    It is too easy to respond to a friend from my own point of view but that’s not going to help them if their perspective, experiences and world views are different from mine.

    Love the entire article though, am printing it out!!

    Blessings 😉

    Reply
    • Grace

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts, Johnna. You’re a woman who makes wise choices 🙂

      Reply
  5. Judy Dippel

    Thank you to each of you for your comments. As I’m re-reading what I wrote, as well as your thoughts, I’m reminded how much work I have to do, myself, to achieve being a good friend and listener. It’s a tough one!

    I had an incredibly good time writing my book, with my co-writer being a therapist! I knew I couldn’t tackle women’s friendship challenges alone.

    Thanks again for your comments ladies. The book is available on Amazon.com in paperback and e-book Kindle edition. Enjoy your friends, and learn some interesting choices and new habits you can make for those friends that tend to frustrate, yet you love them anyway!

    Reply
    • Grace

      Thanks again, Judy, for sharing your thoughts with us. You’ve given us wise words to consider.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)