Five Little Words That Affect Listening

The first little words that affect listening are "he" and "she." A generous scattering of these words signifies gossip. When I listen, I want to hear who you are, so please say "I." When I speak, I want to stick to my own story, so I will say "I."

Another little word that affects listening is "they." Like "he" and "she," this word can signify gossip or whining. Also, being unspecific and inclusive, this word "they," used generously, can signify confusion and imprecision in either listener or speaker.

When a couple sits in my office and one or both say "we" alot, I usually pretty soon ask them to start their sentences with "I." I explain that this lets me connect better one-to-one, and it cuts down on the number of assumptions in the conversation.

Watch out for "You should," as it raises defenses; "You never/always," as it defines and confines; "You are," as it labels; and "You make me," as it gives away personal power. It is usually preferable to start the thought with "I" rather than "You."

The little word, "It," proves useful especially when it is known that the things said with "I" would be taken into malicious or ignorant schemes to disrespect or entrap the speaker. The sentence can be formulated with "It" in order to keep relationship distance.

Copyright 2014 Wilma Zalabak