This past summer I started reading a book on how to influence people and win friends. I like to think I have done a decent job making friends over the years, however, I wanted to look more into the logistics behind making an impact and influencing people. While I find interpersonal skills to be some of the most underrated and important skills, they are often skills we forget to practice. In the book How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age, authors take concepts from Dale Carnegie and apply them tothe digital age. Simple concepts like remembering to smile or using someone’s name are noted throughout the book as being crucial to making an impact of coworkers and friends. I could write for hours on the importance and the impact some ofthese simple interpersonal skills have had on me, or people I know. One thing I found especially interesting was the importance of listening and understanding your audience’s interests.
The author writes, “Who can resist being around a person who suspends their thoughts in order to value yours?” (p. 74). This struck a chord with me on multiple levels. The author is EXACTLY right. We can all think of those couple friends we have that are great listeners. No matter the situation, they are there and will listen to all your problems, complaints, and stories. Bless these friends. (If you haven’t toldthat friend thank you in a while, take this opportunity to send them a text and tell them!) This comfort in being heard and understood resonates and makes lasting impacts through the positive vibes beings shared. We all need to beheard like we are heard when we are talking with your good listeners.
Some of us, like myself, are fortunate enough to have more than just one friend who is a top-notch listener. However, this is not always the case. I know I have an amazing support system, but there are some things you just need to handle on your own. These situations are when personal growth happens! This author’s quote about valuing thoughts is something we can aim to do for ourselves, as well as our friends. Think about the last time you sat back and listened to yourself. I mean really listened to yourself. Not the passing internal dialogue you have, but intentionally listened and valued some of your thoughts and asked yourself an intriguing question. This is hard to do and sometimes, we just avoid it all together. Whether your thoughts are less than happy or more than confusing, it is important to listen and value these ponderings. In the sport psychology world, we would call this self-talk, or your internal dialogue. We all talk to ourselves on some level, some more than others. The real challenge is listening to ourselves and giving our thoughts/feelings the value, they deserve.
If you are that friend who is always a good listener, start applying some of these listening skills toyourself. Take your time, ponder your thoughts, and write them down. Even if you do not think of yourself as a writer, paper has a beautiful way of making you feel heard and understood.
If you are not the best listener, work on that. Start by learning to listen to yourself. If you can understand what you are thinking and feeling, you will have a better understanding of what others are going through.
Take the time to listen toyourself. There is value in a good listener and you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not return the favor to yourself. No excuses: Make time, think about it, and write about it.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”Maya Angelou
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