Golden Rule #20: Listen More Than You Talk.
I learned a long time ago that though people are very different, they have in common a favorite subject: themselves! It’s hard to learn anything about anything or anyone if the only sound is that of your own voice. Ask questions, and listen. Cut back on the caffeine, if necessary. 🙂
I met someone a few years ago who knew my parents and brother very well, but really didn’t know me at all. (I haven’t been home much since moving to Florida, apparently.) He phrased this so beautifully: “Debbie, before today I really didn’t know much about you other than that you existed. Help me to know you better, please.” And he asked me a few questions which allowed me to share enough to round out the “family portrait.” I thought that was a very nice way of saying, “Tell me about yourself.” Which is a bit…blowsy.
Copper has driven this lesson home for me — if I bombard him with words, and tones, he really can’t figure out what I want from him. Now, if I need to talk just to vent, will he listen? Of course. Usually lying on his side with his back pressed up against me and his eyes closed. But he listens very patiently. But if I want him to hear me, and respond, I choose my words carefully, and limit them to words and phrases and tones he understands.