I’m reading in 7 habits again, and I’ve gotten to habit 5, “seek first to understand…”, and there was something that clicked: That when you’re listening to someone you can actually decide to listen to and respond to the feeling instead of the content.
Now I know that this sounds incredibly obvious. But it’s live I’ve always had this notion that we’re all somehow obligated to say what we really mean as precise as possible. So when somebody says “What are you doing tonight?”, they’re not really interested in what I’m doing, they want to know if I’m interested in hanging out with them. For example.
It’s not like I haven’t been able to hear what they were really saying, or to sense the feeling that they’re trying to convey. I’ve just always felt that it was their responsibility to express themselves more clearly if they want my attention, and so I’ve insisted on answering the content of their questions as precisely as possible, often with the hidden agenda of a reductio ad absurdum, to help them see how their original question or statement wasn’t precise enough.
The simple little lesson that I learned, is that I don’t have to be bound by contract to reply to the words, I’m free to reply to the intent, to the emotion, so what I understand was meant by the question. I never knew I had that liberty. How stupid you can be sometimes! :)
(Btw, my consolation is that I’m not alone here, it’s a typical Homo Logicus trait)