Is Mindful Conversing Even a Thing?
Think about when you are having a conversation with someone. ANYONE. At any point in time – whether it be at work, at home, on the phone, texting, literally any sort of conversing. Truly think about this for a second. When the other person is speaking, how often are you attempting to come up with a response even before this person is finished contributing to the conversation? I know you do this, because I used to as well, and I admittedly still do from time to time.
When you do this, you are not allowing the full context of the other person’s contributions to be embedded into your mind. Ever since I began my practice of mindfulness, I have incorporated this practice into my life as much as possible, and trust me, it makes my conversations substantially more fulfilling.
Tips for Mindful Conversing
Let us start with a simple phone call conversation. If my phone begins to ring, I do not pick it up on the first notice. A great practice to use is taking a big, deep breath before answering the phone. Just try this a couple times and then tell me it does not help – I dare you. While on the phone, try to drop anything else you are doing and listen to the person on the other line (aka single-tasking!). Do not take notes until needed. Do not half listen to your television show and half listen to the person on the phone. Things like this are so simple, and the benefits far exceed the effort put into it.
Now let us move on with a conversation in person. This is something I must admit that I struggle with at times, but I work on it every single day. For starters, try to look this person in the eyes when he/she is speaking. Not so much so that it seems invasive – simply make the other person feel like you are truly listening (and do not just fake it!). Also, as mentioned above, do not begin formulating a response before the other person is finished speaking. Simply listen to them fully, and then take a second to process what they had to say. This will help in articulating a well thought out response.
Denying a Conversation When Needed
Another part of Mindful Conversing is not having a conversation at all. If a person comes to talk to you about a subject that you are not ready to participate in, or you are not in the mood to talk and would rather be alone – and this is acceptable at the time (I realize not every situation is applicable here), then please try to speak up for yourself and let this person know how you are feeling. Allow them to realize that you are not in the mood to speak about this topic for the time being, and if this person is a true loved one, friend, etc., they should understand. If they do not accept this, you may want to begin to question their necessity in your life.
Think About This
Think about what you just read, because I am thinking about what I just wrote. This is a blog post about having a conversation with someone. How basic is that? But have you ever considered conversing through this perspective? It is certainly a different lens, but it has impacted my life greatly. Why? Because I love listening to people and what they have to say. I love listening to new ideas and hearing different opinions on topics. Please, try to take this advice and see if it helps you.