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?