The way Home
So, here’s another story from us. …
I was making the odd response noises. We were driving home from an outing. Libby was talking to me about a few things. There was a pause and she said …” are you listening to me?”
At that point she had my attention (again!) and I had to do a quick check in with myself to see what was happening. My findings were that, in fact I was listening – but not listening well. I had to ‘fess up’ to her and say … I was listening to her, but was only 60% tuned in.
At first I felt caught out; somehow deficient. And then it came to me. Hold on a tick while I come to the rescue of myself. ….
” Sorry Darl, your right. You didn’t have my full attention. But I’m a actually bit focused on the driving right now. It’s raining and I am a little weary”.
This wasnt retaliation, it was just the facts. And it felt good to be truthful in that way.
Libby was able to accept my situation and we made it home in one piece.
Why this story ?
In the wider topic of ‘Listening’, in day to day life there are times when we also need permission to be half listening, half doing. When the reality of this kind of situation is ‘out on the table’ and understood, it is quite possible to still maintain the feeling of being with someone and enjoying being in their company, whilst attending to other things.
For this kind of occurrence I have coined the term ‘Casual Listening’ – that is, lacking any plan, order or purpose – Casual. Your not likely to find this term or its concept in the text books. But it is entry level listening. Its when life is happening and listening conditions are not ideal. Its a ‘level’ and it’s valid. Just be aware of what you ARE doing – and what you AREN’T doing.
For anyone who is wanting to improve their listening skills, start initially by noticing your times of casual listening as just that – casual. Don’t be put out if you notice the other person is listening to you ‘casually’.
If you require listening attention beyond ‘casual’, or the topic demands it, do something about it. Make your request / create the space / enhance the environment / settle yourself down / use more eye contact etc.
” You are worth slowing down for “