I have a terrible habit of changing a conversation around and making it about me. In my mind, I believe I do it to show the person I'm conversing with that I'm relating to their story--it happened to me too! It may go something like this:
Friend: I'm really down today. Something terrible happened at work and it's really affected me.
Me: Oh no! What happened?
Friend: I had to fire one of my employees for consistently being late.
Me: I know what you mean...that exact same thing happened to me once. This girl was so sweet, and I know she was only late because she's a single mom and had trouble getting her kids to day care on time, but rules are rules, and it's not fair to everyone else....blah, blah, blah, blah blah.
But I'm learning that when you are conversing with someone and constantly change the dialog to be about yourself, what you are really saying is "What I have to say is more important that what you have to say". "Enough about you, let's talk about me", or "Frankly, I'm not interested in your problems, so I'm going to change the subject and talk about mine".
I really hate it when people do that to me, but I know I sometimes do it too.
How do you become a better listener? I guess like anything else, it takes practice. Practice, and the patience to relax your mind and listen. I think that's why I'd never be a good therapist. I'd want to do all the talking.
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