Long heartfelt conversations, dwelling deep into likes, dislikes, emotions and feelings are an integral part of friendships. We all love to pour our hearts out to our friends. Is there a better emotional detox than letting all your thoughts flow without any constraints in front of a trusted friend? But while all of us love to be at the speaking end in this equation, how many of us realise the value of listening? How many of us offer the same level of patience, empathy and an eager ear to our friends, that we expect from them? Not listening and simply focussing on speaking maybe, in fact, be killing your friendships.
- A conversation with a friend is one of the best ways to rejuvenate and feel good about ourselves.
- Having a heart to heart chat with a friend elevates your mood and provides you with new perspectives on issues.
- However, while we all like to unload our burden in front of our friends, do we offer them the same luxury?
- How many people make it a point to listen as much as they speak during conversations with their friends?
How many of us offer the same level of patience, empathy and an eager ear to our friends, that we expect from them?
Let me get this straight, there is no data or study that I can quote here, but listening is one of the most underrated tasks one person can do for another, and we simply do not value it. However, having been a listener in many friendships, from which I eventually moved on (yes, I distanced myself from friends because I felt unheard in their company) I want to share with you the other side of the two-way conversation, that seldom happens.
We all carry heavy emotional baggage that is just waiting to be shed. Despite access to so much technology and thus people across the country and globe, it is getting increasingly difficult to find someone to speak to. By speaking to, I do not mean discussing politics or having a chit-chat about the weather. I mean discussing your personal issues one on one with someone who is close to you, and understands you. We all have a couple of friends whom we trust and open up to. Talking to them is both therapeutic and enlightening as often we end up finding solutions or perspectives from these conversations, that hadn’t dawned on us on our own. Besides, these conversations do not have to be about personal problems all the time, they can just be about inconsequential things or topics that make us happy.
When you do not give your friend a chance to have a say in conversations, it makes them feel neglected. As if they are only dear to you because they listen to you.
But it fails to dawn on a lot of folks that conversation is a two-way street. It is as much about listening to the person in front of you, as it is about speaking. We all love to voice opinions, to speak on our struggles and share our perspectives, but so does the person sitting in front of you. When you do not give your friend a chance to have a say in conversations, it makes them feel neglected. As if they are only dear to you because they listen to you.
In such a situation a person may begin to question your friendship or the dynamics of the relationship that you share, especially if they are consistently denied a chance to speak up. Am I only valued because I listen to her? Or because I am there for her whenever she needs me? Does she only value my advice or my patience, and not me? Why does she never show any inclination in knowing what I have been up to? Has she not noticed that I haven’t mentioned my boyfriend in a chat since last two months?
Once a person begins to feel unvalued as a friend, they may begin to distance themselves and you may end being blind-sided, losing a bond that you thought was unbreakable. Which is why, we all need to be better listeners as friends, because real friendships are rooted in the sentiment of care and affection. And nothing lets a person know that she or he is cared for by a friend, than knowing that they are being heard.
Picture Credits: glamour.com
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.