Your undivided attention
Are you a multitasker, or is it easier to do one thing at a time? When someone is speaking to you, do you focus on the person, or do you try to finish your e-mail, or keep your nose in a book? Let me explain why I am asking these questions.
"Opinion" When you don't need to prove you are right
Several days ago, I had gum surgery and was told I could not run for several days, so I was at the gym walking on a treadmill next to a young man who was making it obvious he was not enjoying his workout. He kept lifting the towel he had draped over the monitor and then sighing. The next time he lifted the towel I said, “No peeking.” He started telling me how much he hated cardio, that he used to run, but he didn’t want to ruin his knees. He continued to tell me why he wanted to avoid cardio, especially running, so finally I told him I was a runner and I loved it. I knew if I told him my knees were doing great at sixty-four and running isn’t the knee wrecker that it has the reputation of being, he wouldn’t hear me. I answered his questions about my running, listened to more of his stories, and then headed home. There are times when you are wasting your time trying to change someone’s opinion when they are so sure that they are correct. Ask yourself if your opinion would have helped the situation in some way. In my case, the man wanted to tell me his story. He wasn’t interested in me convincing him to give running another try.
Do You Have the Courage to Be A Real Friend?
Have you ever told a friend about a deeply upsetting experience and then had the friend tell you all the reasons why that experience won’t be upsetting at some point in the future? Have you ever been that friend who offers that advice?
What is your ear-q?
How good of a listener are you? Do you focus on the person who is speaking to you or do you multitask while speaking, trying to carry on a conversation while still getting other things done? Do you sometimes turn off and tune out when a family member is talking to you about something that isn’t really interesting to you?
Why It's So Important to Feel All Our Feelings
This past weekend I witnessed an event that was both utterly simple and utterly profound, an interaction that beautifully demonstrates what we really need to feel OK. I was sitting at an outdoor café, when what appeared to be a family of three: a mom, dad, and their 9-ish-year-old daughter (who was carrying a wrapped present) approached and stopped at the brownstone just next to the table where I was sitting. It looked like they were going to the same party as several other young families who’d entered the brownstone carrying presents in the last half hour. But at the bottom of the stoop, the little girl started crying. From the look of her face, which was red and splotchy, it looked like it wasn’t the first cry of the morning. The girl then laid down on the sidewalk, now sobbing, and screeched that she didn’t want to go to the party; she hated parties, she wasn’t going to know anyone there besides “Molly,” and no one was going to talk to her because no one ever did.
Having a conversation
The definition of a conversation is a talk between two or more people in which ideas or news are exchanged. The problem is that our interactions often are more one-sided with one person talking about himself or interrupting to interject with a personal anecdote. We are often distracted because of the many things we need to do, so instead of focusing on what someone is saying we are checking our phones or trying to finish one more e-mail.
Parenting 101: Love is In the Details
Pam, a client, was crying tears of happiness and relief, but also sadness. The man she’d been dating for six months had asked, “How do you feel about what’s happening in the news, given what happened to you in middle school?”