When talking to others, it’s not always easy to navigate what we’re allowed and what we’re not allowed to say. Learning to socialize with others is such an important aspect of growing up and being a member of society, and unfortunately it’s not as easy for some than it is for others to develop these traits. There are tons of things we can talk about, but for now, we’ll just talk about one thing: how to be a better listener.
Make People Feel Good When They’re Talking
When you tell someone a story, or something you learned, how would you feel if they just shrugged you off, or said something to the effect of, “Yeah I already know that.” You wouldn’t feel too great.
So when someone is telling you something that they clearly are passionate about, mirror their enthusiasm to make them feel good about themselves. Even if you don’t necessarily share the same interest, being a kind person is about supporting their passion regardless.
Accept That You Might Learn Something
As mentioned before, it’s not fun when someone tells us that they “already knew that”. But here’s the thing. Sometimes we might think we already know something, and maybe we do. But when someone tells you something, you need to be a little bit humble in that moment and recognize that even if you think you know everything that they’re saying—there might actually be something new they’re adding to the table.
Sometimes we might know about 80% of something that our peer is talking about, and because we want to save face, we say that “we already knew all that.” But we don’t. We knew part of it, and now we just gained an extra 20%.
We need to set our pride aside and be keenly conscious of the new information we’re learning, even if it’s something small. We need to make the conscious effort to tell our peer that they’ve introduced new information to us. This will not only make you more humble, but it’ll also make them feel a lot better than if you were to just say, “Yeah, I already knew that.”