If You Truly Want To Listen
It's an art form.
- Be quiet. Shut your mouth, open your mind.
- Be present. People are often visible yet less tangible than the air around them, apparent but unfelt.
- Don’t analyse. This is not the time or place for your self-defined scientific method of rationalising and probing for validity and sense.
- Don’t force a reaction. If it isn’t funny to you, don’t laugh. Exclamations are spontaneous. If you have to think about exclaiming, it’s false.
- There’s no need to consciously nod repeatedly as a sign that you’re following. You’ll end up looking like a mechanical doll. Dramatic grunting is suspicious too. See 4 above for reinforcement.
- Don’t contribute till you’re invited to do so. Interjections are rude. And even when there’s an invitation, take care not to impose your opinion or take over the conversation.
- Don’t judge. You’re (probably) not qualified.
- Know your role, sounding board, know your role and play it well.
- Be kind. No matter how scandalous, how unsettling or how unrelatable, be kind.
- When it’s done, it’s done. Don’t linger. Don’t rehash. Don’t reiterate.