What is the number one sin that you could commit that will torpedo your relationships? What kind of action is guaranteed to throw your relationship with other people for a loop? This applies to all types of relationship. It may be a business relationship, an intimate relationship, or your relationship with your family members and close friends. It is guaranteed to cripple your relationship if you do this one thing.
What is this practice that corrodes your ability to connect with people in a deep and meaningful way? You might not think much of it because it seems basic and simple and a lot of people are too quick to dismiss it. A lot of people are even unaware that they are doing this.
Just like with anything else in life, big disasters usually do not happen overnight. Have you ever read about buildings collapsing or bridges giving way? If you read the literature or police reports or news reports on those catastrophes, there is a common thread. Usually, designs are already there but people are just too busy to care. They know that something is off because there are small cracks or there are some indication that the angle of the bridge is not right.
People sit up and pay attention only when it’s already too late. That’s how the human mind works. With that as a background, the number one practice that is guaranteed to cripple your relationship is the unwillingness to listen. I know, it may seem like a small thing. It might even seem like it is obvious but so many people drop the ball when it comes to this key relationship ability.
Are you really listening?
Do you really listen to people? Be honest. When you talk to somebody, people usually interrupt. They say stuff or try to cover stuff that they want to cover. Then they let the other person talk and butt in to cover the stuff that they want to make. They never really absorb what the other person is saying. They never take the opportunity to learn. Instead of talking and listening, they engage in some sort of verbal ping pong.
There is nothing wrong with metal sharpening metal. That’s how we grow as people, grow mentally and become better creatures with cognitive abilities. The problem is we often go through the motions, and we don’t really value the conversation for what it is.
When you really listen to somebody, you must assume that they can teach you something. That’s the core assumption that you have to go back to and make the centerpiece of your conversation. Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult for you to give the kind of respect and importance it needs for it to benefit. You need to remember that, because if you don’t assume that you will learn anything from people, it would be very hard for you to listen.
Be honest with yourself. Ask and go back to my central question. Do you really listen? The moment you start rediscovering the art of listening, is the moment you truly reconnect with people.