We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
Active listening requires one to be engaged, to understand, and to respond verbally or nonverbally. This can reduce conflict as well as strengthen relationships. Many times we are quick to give others advice before we have heard their entire story. On a side note, we can be slightly judgmental when others make choices that are different than the ones we would have made, but I’ll save that juicy topic for another day. Listening can save your friendship, your job, or even your marriage. It is a skill that can alter your life. If you wish to be taken seriously you must take others seriously by paying attention. This goes back to the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This will require us to slow down and be genuinely interested in what others have to say. Make eye contact and absorb the message that the person is trying to convey. This also means validating what they are saying by not spinning the story in your direction. Every now and then people need to get their thoughts out of their head and spread them out on the table so they can sort through them. It’s like helping them clean out their mental closets.
Who in your life listens to you and is not seeking payment or some form of reciprocity? Be grateful for those dear companions and become that prized companion.