The Art of (almost) Listening
As far as I can remember, people seems to talk to me out of the blue and would just vent out their frustrations in life or whatever. It could be the reason why I took a degree in Psychology, who knows.
Over time, I’ve learned that saying less is doing more. So, I began experimenting. I developed the theory of the art of (almost) listening.
What is the art of (almost) listening?
The art of (almost) listening is making the person think that you are listening but the truth is that inside your insane head you are somewhere else.
1. Pretend to look into the person’s eyes. Usually, a good spot is between the eyes parallel to the brows or forehead. It gives the illusion that you are looking straight into their eyes even you’re not. This way, the person talking to you sees that you are genuinely listening to what he/she is saying even you know you are not.
2. Though, you are not really listening, you can feel the vibration emitting from the mouth of the person talking to you. Nodding your head occasionally alternating it in between with some phrases such as “I see”, “Oh”, “Then”, “Uhmm” and “Uhuh”, lets the other person think that you are intently listening to what he/she is saying when in reality you know you’re not.
3. If you totally zoned out and the person had stopped talking. Don’t panic. Simply say, “I understand.” Follow up with a question, “So, what are you going to do about it?” Or, if he/she asks you if you are listening but you didn’t response right away because you are really not listening, just say something like, “No, I was listening… actually, I was thinking that’s tough I wouldn’t know to handle that myself/that’s tough I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes right now.”
As much as possible, I try not to leave my comments as an open question because it usually give him/her more opportunity to do his/her monologue.
IF the person is a chatterbox just reboot the cycle from #1 to #3. Eventually, he/she will get tired of venting out and will realize that all his/her frustrations are somewhat relieved and will feel much better.
IF he/she still doesn’t get over of the topic after the Nth time, I usually change the subject and move on to other things to talk about instead. Or better yet, just do it and be candid. “I know, get over it already and move on. Let’s talk about something else.”
So, in a nutshell, those are the steps that I usually do in making people think that I am listening to what they are saying. Not that I don’t care.
Hey, I know, I sounded like a major A-HOLE! But, believe me, if your ears are always glued to the non-stop remixes whining of different people day in and out, you may want to mentally snooze once in awhile.
Thing is, this technique does not work on my mom, though. She’s oceans away but she manages to catch me doing this to her every single time on Skype. Dang!