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Cater to what you are listening to.

I said this out loud one day, and it sort of resonated. After saying it out loud without thinking about it, I had to think about it to get a clear definition of what this means. I know it kind of seems a bit self-explanatory, but it can go deeper. Take a dive with me real quick... When you're catering to what you're listening to, it requires you to listen intently to the words not spoken. Listen to inflection of the person's voice. If you're reading a text or email, pay attention to the verbiage that's written/typed. Does it reflect everyday usage or is it different? If it's different, in what way is it different? Compare to how the person talks in front of you and how they message, can you catch those differences?

Also ask (if it's on a personal/casual enough level) where their mental capacity is that day or at that moment. Why? Because this can be the difference between an engaging/empowering/encouraging/productive to counterproductive/stagnant/enraging conversation. What you may be prepared to give as a response may not be what your listener needs. Sometimes, it may even be beneficial to outright ask your co-conversationalist what type of listener they need you to be. Hey, do you want just listening me? Do you want advice? Are you feeling like follow up questions? What do you need from me?

Cater to what you're listening to, above all, be open-minded.


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