How many fulfilling conversations are you having in a day? I know life is busy and it’s easy to slip into auto pilot, so that might even be a hard question to answer.
You and everyone else you are talking with in your life, from strangers to loved ones, fundamentally want one thing.
To be seen and heard.
Are you getting and giving this?
It’s the most basic of offerings, yet we fail at it so often. We are thirsty for connection, this is one thing we can get better at right now.
Here are some EASY ways to do it better:
ONE: Leave your phone in your purse or pocket.
Literally leave it out of sight when you are talking to anyone. Research says that just the presence of your phone is a distraction to all people in a conversation. Why? Because it is designed to get your attention on all levels. And then it reinforces that action by offering dopamine hits when we give it our attention.
TWO: Look at the person you are talking with.
Yes, LOOK at them. I know that seems too simple. But it is one of the ways we signal to the other person that we are “seeing” and “hearing” them. And we are NOT doing that a lot. Especially if our phone is nearby.
THREE: Try not to interrupt.
As our attention spans get shorter and we are given information more quickly, this impacts how we interact.
I have been thinking about this a lot because I’m curious about why I feel more alive after some interactions and like I have been run over by a bus in others.
At a social event recently, I was observing how this group of close friends was interacting. These were educated people who are very interested in each other and long time friends. I was floored at how often people interrupted each other to talk about their own selves. AND did not ask a single question about another person. Of course we are starving for connection. The ones closest to us are not even seeing or hearing us!
FOUR: Ask a question.
Yes, ask a single follow up question. People want to be seen and heard. If you ask a question (not interrupting with one), that means you heard your person. It means you are connected.
The declining quality of interactions with each other is leaving us void of feeling connected. When we don’t feel connected and like we belong, we turn to superficial or unproductive activities to get our needs met. It’s a space where judgement, narcissism and selfishness grows.
How about we focus on building back our relationships to places where we are seen and heard? We can all be healthier, more compassionate, connected and fulfilled.
You can start right now. It takes very little.
And, someone will notice. Maybe not consciously, but they will want to be around you more. They might say or do something nice, express gratitude and appreciation for you or the next person they see.