10 Ways To Be A Badass Girlfriend: 1. Listen
1. Listen for opportunities and what’s possible NOT for what’s wrong or why you’re almost always right (even if you are).
Not only do we listen through filters depending on who we’re speaking to—we also have a way of listening that most of us aren’t aware of. For example, there’s that person in our lives who always seems to find the fault or what’s wrong in everything we say—while there may be another person who always has a solution within every conversation even when we’re not even asking for one. Then there’s that person who always seems to find the bright side to everything. This is all because of the way we listen and what we’re LISTENING FOR.
Brian and I are always in conversation. Our partnership is created in communication. We talk about everything. There are times when I share with Brian an idea or thought that I have. Almost always, he automatically goes into what’s missing or why what I’m saying might not be valid, which then gets me triggered and feel like I have to defend myself and what I’ve just shared. After many arguments, we’ve discovered that Brian listens for inauthenticity BY DEFAULT, which is why I feel like I have to depend myself a lot of the time. (Luckily, he and I are both in a year long communications program, and we get to work through this stuff together.)
I, on the other hand, used to be the person who listened for how I can contribute—how I can give you the advice you need to solve all of your problems because I got ‘em all. When I realized that most people just want to be heard, I stopped listening for how I can tell you how to live your life. With awareness and practice, I mostly listen for opportunities and what’s possible. “What?! you have an idea?! Lets see how we can make it come to life! What you hate your job? How can we create a life where you can love your job or quit that job and do what you actually love. What you didn’t let me know what time you’d be home because your phone is acting up? Well, I’ve been wanting the new iPhone—do you want mine?” Because I’m always listening for what’s possible, Brian gets to share with me anything and everything because he knows that I will never tell him why it won’t work or that he’s flat out wrong. There isn’t anything that Brian can’t say to me. (And of course he’s gotta be responsible. He’s learned the hard way.)
Shifting the way we listen is hard! It ain’t easy, especially because we’ve been listening a certain way for most of our lives. The first step toward transforming the way we listen is to be aware of how we listen. Begin to consider that we have a default way of listening that has people react or resist—that it’s not actually what we say but how we are being about it. Begin to consider that don’t really know how to listen, and then do the work to discover what’s missing in the way we listen to our partners and the world.