"Every good conversation starts with good listening." Sometimes talking to a loved one is effortless and time runs out before all of the news is shared. But at other times, conversing is difficult, with long pauses or inattention. What can we do to have great conversations with the people we love?
Give them our full attention. Put away the cell phone, don't check your watch, sit where you can see and hear well. Choose a quiet place to be together.
Don't interrupt, even if someone seems to be searching for a word. Interruptions often change the subject entirely, leaving the speaker feeling unfinished or unheard.
Don't jump around. Keep your topics as still as your body and mind. Jumping from one subject to another can be confusing. Important details can get lost in a tangle of subjects.
Accept differences of opinion. Even people who love one another will not agree on everything. If an opinion is expressed that riles you, it's still good practice to keep listening. Everyone might learn something. You can add relevant information, but there is no need to "win" an argument.
Choose interesting topics. Ask people about their past, their achievements and what they think about the present. Talk about changes during their lifetime, such as technology or manners. Share your thoughts and memories when appropriate, but encourage your loved one to do the talking.
Many seniors spend a great deal of time alone or watching television. A shared conversation can be great medicine and brighten days. The memory of the conversation will enrich later hours, as well.
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