How are we to know when someone is really listening to us? How do we know someone actually cares?
I think this can be determined with consideration of these 3 things:
There are people who sit quietly and listen to you until you are done talking to respond or they are merely offering an ear to listen to you. Then there are others who are very involved and provide constant affirmation of attentiveness through nodding or engaging with questions/comments to promote more of a conversation. Neither one is right or wrong. It just depends on what a person prefers. A happy medium can be achieved between the two with mutual effort and understanding.
A big thing that I personally appreciate is when people are critical of my opinion and respond to what I say with questions/statements that challenge my beliefs. I find this is the only way to truly grow; it’s also the most beneficial and selfless way for someone to show care and attentiveness towards another individual.
I think this is extremely important in any and all interactions. If someone’s initial perception of you is somewhat negative, the formation of their thoughts about you for the most part won’t be in the best light. It’s highly likely that the “benefit of the doubt” aspect is gone, which is quite unfortunate because you could have done nothing wrong yet this unfavorable environment now exists. This will also lead to lower inclination to clear up any misunderstands and less effort to work through things. Often times this is difficult to reverse and the people involved no longer see enough value in the relationship to fix it.
This is a HUGE one!!! I feel this is pretty self-explanatory but if someone believes they are always right, they are not opening themselves up to improvement. If you think what you believe and know is the only right way, why would you ever really listen to what someone else says? You want to interact with others in a genuine and mutually beneficial manner — this means putting egos aside.
Everyone knows something you don’t. We all have different views of this world through our personal experiences that can help further another individual’s perspective. Listen, share, grow.