Can you hear me? Are you even listening?

Who do you talk to when you really want to think something through? A family member, a friend?

When I sit alone, having a coffee, on public transport, or just sitting in a public place, even when I'm reading, total strangers will open conversations and tell me about something extremely personal. "You're easy to talk to" they say. People tell me it's because I'm a life coach and am a listener by nature. It's probably that, but also because I'm a stranger who will not react emotionally or involve myself in their decisions.

It's like this. You have something to figure out or something that's really bothering you. You open a conversation with your nearest and dearest. You just want to talk and be heard. You want to sort out your thoughts so you can decide for yourself what to do. Unless you are very lucky with family and friends, your listener might stop listening because of any of the following:

  • they're not interested enough to concentrate.

  • they interrupt you mid sentence again and again to give their opinion

  • they're waiting for you to stop talking so they can tell you about their problems

  • they tell you what you 'should' do

  • they ‘heard it all before’ and you didn't do what they told you to do, so not listening!

  • they are distracted by things they might otherwise be doing.

  • they become upset or angry on your behalf and want to take action to 'fix it'

  • you're talking about a disagreement that angered you. They're not fully listening because they're taking sides and thinking about counter arguments and 'things you should have said', when you just want to talk about the fact that you had a disagreement with someone

During all of this, you just want to talk and be heard. You want to sort out your thoughts so you can decide for yourself what to do or how you feel. Everyday conversations are not one sided, so it can be difficult to find the space where the time is devoted to you and what you need. If you have something to deal with, then be good to yourself and invest in what you need. If you are dealing with a challenge, need clarity, and your social conversations aren't helping, talking with a coach is worth thinking about. A coach will want you to work it out for yourself, will ask questions to help you clarify your thoughts, will be your guide and cheerleader, but will never use the word 'should' or tell you what to think or do. Look after you, because your future self will thank you for it.

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