Lessons from the dog - Listen
Sometimes I find I'd rather talk to my dog more than to another human. It's not that I don't like the company of other people, but in today's busy society it can feel like no one really listens anymore. Ever notice a family at a restaurant that is too busy sending text messages and checking social media updates to have a conversation with each other? Or maybe you're talking to a co-worker and you can see from the look in his face that his mind is elsewhere and you doubt he's heard a word you've said. It's frustrating and downright hurtful.
Dogs are great listeners. They perk their ears right up when they hear your voice. Maybe you even get that coveted head tilt as well. You have their full attention and you know it. We should be more like them.
Really listen when someone is talking. Pay attention to their words instead of thinking about what you want to say next. Dogs don't interrupt and we shouldn't either. They never get bored and walk away. They listen for as long as we are talking. And they watch our body language. They know if we are talking about something sad and maybe will give you a hug to make you feel better. Ever have some super exciting news but no one is home to share it with, so you tell your dog first instead? And in between your squeals of delight they bark and howl right along with you? No, they don't understand what you're saying, but they totally get what you're feeling.
Listening is important for long lasting relationships. Look at the people in your life. If you have a friend who only talks about herself, how often do you want to get together with her? I went out on a date with a guy once who never stopped talking about himself. If I shared a story, he interrupted me to share a story of his own. And when he finished, he never asked me what the ending to my story was. Apparently, he thought I had a great time and asked to go out on a second date. Without hesitation I said no. Why would I? It was clear he didn't give an oomph about anyone but himself.
So how about it? While I enjoy the perks of having a smart phone sometimes, I make it a point to put it away so I can enjoy the conversation with my friends and family. And be a better listener.