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Listening as an Important Part of Relationships

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Listening and Stage Hog Essay

Personally, I feel that I am a pretty good listener. Often times I really don’t know what to say or have anything to talk about, so I just listen to the other person talking instead. If I can’t really offer a response to their discussion, I at least want them to feel like I was in fact listening to what they had to say. I will get distracted sometimes though, but I think that everyone does at times. My mind will wander, I may check my phone (I try to avoid doing this because I personally think it’s very rude), or a my current state may affect how I am listening. For example, yesterday in class I was really tired and my eyes started getting heavy so I wasn’t fully listening to my instructor, rather trying to focus on not falling asleep (I think a lot of students are familiar with this, especially in early morning class).

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Aside from all the distractions, listening is a very important part of relationships, friendships, and just life in general. You need to listen for instructions, for information, and to properly communicate with other individuals. Not only do you listen to people talk, you can listen to the world around you and get a better sense of your environment.

Firstly, I will be conducting the listening experiment. I chose my partner to listen to, even though I listen to him most of the time anyway. Occasionally there are some distractions for me, but for this experiment, I will actively pay attention and listen and try to omit any distractions.

Yesterday, my boyfriend came home from work. He doesn’t really like his job, and often has some complaints about his day when he comes home. Sometimes he complains for while so I end up getting distracted because it can be a bit much, but this time I will try and be more mindful of what he is saying. He sat down in the chair in the living room and turned on the television. He then turned around and started talking to me about his “awful day at work”. I was on my phone at the time scrolling through Facebook. I quickly shut off my phone, and then I grabbed the remote to turned down the television. He didn’t say anything when I did that. He continued talking, and I just listened intently. I focused on hearing what he had to say, and understanding it. I did not pick up my phone again, and I did not give him any feedback until he was completely done talking. I feel like it made him feel better knowing that I was paying attention to what he had to say.

For the second experiment, I hogged the stage. I chose to do this with one of my close friends, because she would be the one to get the least angry and be the most understanding. It started when she told me something about herself. In a regular conversation I may have asked her a question related to what she said, or just offered her some thoughtful feedback. But since this was not going to be a normal conversation, I turned it around and made it all about me. I kind of went with a “yeah I know the feeling” response, and then told her something about myself that was similar to her situation. Every time she tried to tell me more about herself, I cut her off and added to my story. I did this multiple times until I could tell that she was getting really irritated with me. I told her why I was doing that and she said something along the lines of “that’s good to know, because I thought you were being really rude”, which I was. We just laughed it off, and all was well.

These two experiments really teach you the value of listening to people, and why it is so important to listen. It makes people feel like you care about them and what they have to say, because you are showing an interest in them and their conversation. Imagine if you were in the the shoes of the person you performed the stage hog experiment on (chances are most of us have been in this situation at some point), you’d most likely be very irritated or upset. You’d feel like the person didn’t really care about what you had to say. That experiment shows us why we need to take part in social decentering, because not everything is about you, and you should take into account other people’s feelings. Listening shows that you care.

The experiment that was the easiest for me was the listening experiment. I really do not have a problem listening to others, and I am quite used to it. Also I do not like being rude to people or interrupting them, because I know how it feels to have that done to you, and it can really get on your nerves. The stage hog experiment made you take part in conversational narcissism. It actually made me quite uncomfortable, and I did not like doing it. It gives you a good perspective on what it makes others feel like when you interrupt them and make everything about yourself, though. In conclusion, everyone should actively try and improve on their listening skills. It will improve communication and you understanding for others.

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