Thursday, March 8, 2012

Listening Part 2

You didn't really think that was it, did you?
Yesterday we (me) discussed the importance of how to listen. Now you'll understand of course that while those 'Godly' answers were lovely, they were just done at an inappropriate time.
Now we (me) shall talk about 'enthusiastic listening'.

You can probably tell that not only am I sensitive, I am terribly...passionate. Not always a good thing, but at least you'll always know what I'm thinking/feeling. Which hubby tells me is a good thing. Smart man. Anyhoo.
Have you ever had such marvelous, lovely, wonderful news and you meet your girlfriend for tea and you are just bursting at the seams and this happens...

me (or you): I just got my book picked up to be published!
her: I knew you could. Let's have a danish.

Now. Obviously, it's terribly lovely that she 'knew' you could do it. But this my dear friends, is the wrong answer.

me: I just got my book picked up to be published!
her: Aaaaaahhhhh!!!! That's marvelous!!!! EEEEEEEE!!! (hands flapping frantically in joy) Everyone! My friend is going to be published!!! Yay!!!! (insert dancing and hugging)

See how subtle the difference is? No? Which friend would you rather have? Obvious answer.

I realize some ladies feel it 'beneath' them or perhaps they just don't want to draw attention to themselves by being enthusastic in public. Well, what if you are at home, all alone together? Could you not muster up some emotion? Or what if you're on the telephone?

me: I just got my book picked up to be published!
her: Great! (sounds of tapping)
me: what are you doing?
her: Oh I'm just responding to an email from my son's teacher.
me: (insert disappointment and refraining from hanging up phone)

Do you know how rare encouragement is? Do you know how many people have looked at you and said, 'You can't do that', 'Why are you wasting your time?', 'It's too hard'.
The amount of people that have given you a supportive word, who have high-fived you, who have sent you real honest-to-goodness letters in the mail to encourage you? Not very many.

So. What if your friends aren't encouraging you properly? The way they should be? Well, first of all, are you being ridiculous in your need of encouragement? I mean, do they need to encourage you making muffins for breakfast? Or are they ignoring you? I've learned you can do three things.
1) Stop expecting it from them.
2) Tell them you want more excitement. Even if it's fake.
3) Teach them. I have specifically taught my husband when I have things to tell him that he needs to 'be a girl for a moment' while I talk to him. This involves his eyes getting wide and much hand flapping to whatever I say next. Whether I'm discussing something super awesome I did, or some gorgeous turquoise Converse shoes I want to buy because they will go with everything.

I have a quote on my wall. Actually I have quite a few because I'm a slob and I just tape things up everywhere. It says, "It takes only one negative comment to kill a dream. Remember that next time".

At my son's school, they have a strict policy on 'only encouraging the heart, not hurting it'. So that they learn and practice how to encourage, not hurt one another.

Do you honestly think that God doesn't want us to laugh with each other, cry with each other, encourage with one another and fight for a cause with another?

Stop being mean. Open your heart and fill someone's life with your encouragment, your kind words and your love. Every single person loves kind words and affirmation. Stop being so stingy!

Jenn Kelly is an author who loooves to write encouragement cards. It's her favourite. This is her neurotic dog who is being encouraged to wear a sweater because it is -30C because the dog will freeze otherwise. Jenn has been uploading iTunes songs so she can get in the mood to write her Amish book. Although what Amish lit and the Black Keys have in common, we'll have to wait to find out.


  1. Hi Jenn, thanks for two really super posts, I know they'll help me to be a more sensitive listener.

    I once participated in a listening workshop where I was taught to respond by repeating a person's statement.
    Person: I feel really down because my dog died last night . . .
    Me: You feel really down because your dog died.

    What do you think about that sort of response? It's my take that some people would find this mighty irritating.

  2. Ruth Ann, it almost sounds like a psychiatrist answer doesn't it? Why would you want your own words repeated to you? Hm. I think you might be right. I'm more of a 'get excited with me/ hold my hand while I tell you a sad tale' kind of girl... I wonder if every woman is like that secretly... like how we all secretly love to lounge around...

  3. Ruth Ann, I would hate that response. It does sound like a psychiatrist and totally fake. I much prefer the friend who tears up when I have sad news. My SIL is a great one for tears. She always says "I can never let anyone cry alone" even if she doesn't know the cause!

  4. This is one of the frustrations people have when they return from a missions trip. They have been forced to depend on God, had their hearts ripped open, their whole way of looking at the world transformed and people in their home church say, "That's nice. Did you see the football game?"

  5. I have had that sort of response and it has totally killed any reply from me. If all you're going to do is repeat what I said, what's the point in talking? I heard myself the first time, after all.
    I have one friend who gets SO excited when I have good news - and tears up as soon as I'm unhappy. Then she usually takes my side and tells me I'm wonderful. That's a friend!

  6. agreed. It's like you don't want to tell your other friends anything because they won't respond properly... and it's so easy!! Huzzah to amazing friends who flap their hands!

  7. Love those sort of friends and family who show enthusiasm and encouragement. Our world needs more not less of it. Sorry I spoiled you back to backs with bilbies.

  8. don't be silly! Your biblies are adorable! And thanks for the encouragement ladies!!!!