overbrain: on hearing one another

I have recently found a new problem (which is great for staying busy with small stuff and distracting yourself, try it!).

The problem was I had to learn to listen again.

After being used to being the person that everyone loves telling their life story to, suddenly I found it hard to connect with people. I couldn’t figure out what at was, but the people that used to trust me with their stories now rather stayed silent. Now anyone that’s worked in sales or hospitality knows: if everyone is being a dick, there is only one dick in the room.

It turns out, listening is a skill – and it’s not about being silent and nodding in the right moment. It’s about hearing what is said between the lines and picking it up. Superficial techniques like always taking the last two words and making them into a question (example: “He was very ugly.” – “Very ugly?” ) doesn’t work long term. Because people will only tell you the real stuff if they know you’re really, truly hearing them. They’ll drop hints, lines, even just phrase a certain word in a certain way, and if you’re already thinking about what you’re going to say next you’ll miss it. They want to know if they can go for it, and when you don’t pick it up they won’t. They’ll stay superficial. It’s their invitation to take the conversation deeper – take it.


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