Most people don’t actually listen to you when you’re talking.
Have you noticed?
We’re all pretty talented pretenders…
You can tell when their eyes dart all around you, looking at everything and everyone BEHIND you, but rarely focusing on your face
Or, they may have positioned their phone on the table in front of them and periodically glance down, breaking eye contact with you and making you feel like — yep, not listening to me. I’ll just fck off then.
Or, maybe they look like they’re paying attention – you THINK they’re listening – but you notice they rarely make any useful / appropriate comments — meaning they’re actually all up in their head…
Stuck in a fog of internal thought.
Homer does this well. Seen that episode of the Simpsons where, instead of listening, he’s thinking about a turtle and a cow dancing?
Pretty much sums it up.
They can’t help it — its hard to concentrate on what’s going on around them when their mind is running through an internal checklist, or whinging in their head, like: “This fcking chair is digging into my spine, I’ve got a splitting headache — how much longer will she want to stay here?
Apparently for up to 70–80% of our day, we are LOST IN THOUGHT.
Usually, we’re either dwelling on the past, or getting too far ahead of ourselves, stressing about the future. It’s actually pretty draining…
Its not exactly peaceful to be lost in thought — therefore you aren’t exactly happy either.
So, potentially you are unhappy 70–80% of your day.
Geez, thanks dickhead.
Not to worry, we’re all in the same boat with this dilemma.
First way out of this shimozzle?
I thought you’d never ask.
My mindfulness coach suggested I name my mind
I called her Nance (as in Negative Nancy)
And yeah, probably could have been more creative but this one just kinda stuck with me
I decided she wasn’t me & started to think of her as more of an anxious, over-thinker, little ‘roommate’
– who is a bit of a dick but has the best of intentions
Next is to start noticing how often it gets distracted and exactly what it says to you:
- That you look tired;
- That your skin is terrible today;
- That its Monday and therefore you’re going to have a shit day.
So much complaining.
Its très annoying.
Just to clarify, no, this isn’t schizophrenia — I’m talking about the normal diarrhea of inner chatter that everyone has
Notice how there’s repetitive ‘stories’ it feeds you? You should start to notice what they are and label them, so that next time one comes up, instead of getting bogged down by it, you can just label it, like:
“Ah, yes, the: ‘I’m A Shit Saver’ story (for every time I buy something other than necessities) my mind says to me:
“See, you cant help yourself, always buying shit. No wonder you never have enough savings.”
But to do this you first just need to be AWARE. Awareness is key, friends.
As far as being a shit listener goes, next time your with a mate, instead of waiting for the point in the conversation where you can interrupt and give your opinion, like:
HAR HAR, me too, ME, ME, ME (launches into story of self)
Practice showing some goddamn restraint
It’s not all about you and getting everything you want to say out, you know?
I know, life’s hard…
If you’re a level 10 phone addict and social media stalker, how about we just keep your phone in your bag or pocket – or throw it over the other side of the road so you’re not constantly responding to every ‘ping’- distracting you from your mate.
If you’re particularly scatty today — BEFORE you sit down to talk/listen — take 10 mins to yourself to get centered. Don’t arrive feeling rushed and flustered and then banging on about how stressed, late, annoyed you are for the first 15 mins of the conversation.
Its okay if your mind wanders over to reminding you to shave your pits and get the meat out of the fridge for dinner – just gently refocus on your person.
Give people your undivided attention (legit, not Homer Simpson style) they’ll notice & love you for it.