By Rijul Nadkarni (L&T- RBG)
With Valentine’s Day around the corner , everyone is all excited about how they can express their feeling for their loved ones : romantic partners , friends , colleagues etc. But in letting all the focus drift to expressing , one forgets about an important aspect to complete a conversation – Listening . Listening can be a great strength or a stealthy weapon.
Now you’re probably thinking that the strength part makes some sort of sense but the weapon half seems iffy. So let’s discuss that first. Listening is one of those few things that a human can do that requires almost no effort which will make you feel an automatic closeness and kinship to the other person. They could be thinking about dessert or the next thing to watch on Netflix while you divulge your insecurities or problems and all they would have to do to make you feel valued is mumble a few sounds or phrases.
You begin to feel a bond that might be completely one sided and a sense of debt to them for listening to you. You will make thoughtful gestures and prioritize them though they practically did nothing. And there lies the power of this weapon. You feel obligated to someone who does not reciprocate this feeling and you put in time and effort till you finally realize that you’re not getting anything back. People like these rarely bring something good into your life. They care about themselves and knowingly or unknowingly tap into a human’s inane desire to confide without judgment. But what they actually do is hear and not listen and that makes a big difference.
But how is it a strength? When people say communication is the key to a relationship, the thing most people imagine is talking but they forget about listening because otherwise it’s just two people speaking over each other without it leading anywhere. Listening helps partially bridge physical distances albeit there’s a lot more that goes into truly strengthening a relationship especially a long distance one.
When someone listens to your thoughts or feelings and provides you with insightful or helpful advice, treasure them. Because even when they tell you things you don’t want to hear, they are doing it out of care or at least out of effort in the relationship. That is much more valuable that someone who hears you and has nothing to say. Everyone has an opinion and if they’re not willing to share theirs, there’s some rethinking to do about that relationship.
Remember, if you expect someone to listen to you, expect them to respond as well. Never make someone feel like hearing you is just enough because then when you actually need feedback you may not get it.