Listening.Generally speaking, people have to tell me things multiple times. I have a horrible memory. Long-term and short-term - it doesn't matter. I have a theory why my memory is so bad: maybe I never "knew" the thing I was supposed to remember?
I don't want this to be true - but I don't think I have a memory problem. I think I have a listening problem. Some people call it selective listening, I just call it "not listening". I get very focused on single things and I tend to ignore all other stuff. I don't bounce from thing to thing and when focused on something I am rarely distracted. To be honest, I am the opposite of people who suffer from ADHD. Should I feel good that people take drugs to be more like I am naturally?
Seriously, I am the extreme in the other direction and it can be just as unhealthy. My wife is the perfect picture of a multi-tasker and it is a source of contention with us. She can iron clothes, have a discussion about finances and watch a television show all at the same time. I can only do one of those things at a time and I get very frustrated when I am expected to watch a show and have a serious conversation with Kelly. She struggles to slow down and I struggle to speed up. It is strange how two similar people can be so opposite in how they listen and relate with the world. Although we agree on most things, figuring out that we have common ground is sometimes hard. Listening is the key to us being on the same page and we both listen differently. We both can listen though!
So my task is two-fold: making sure I am listening to Kelly the best I can and trusting that Kelly is listening to me. When Kelly has something to communicate I need to make sure I show her that I value her by changing my focus from what I was doing to actively listening to her. I also need to respect that Kelly is able to listen to me while completing a different task at the same time.
Acknowledging and respecting where we are different will help us to interact and listen to each other better.
How do you listen best?
Are you able to listen well while also engaged in another task?
How does your spouse or child expect you to listen?
Do they require more focus on tasks than you do, or are they more of a multi-tasker?