Good Intentions

            There is nothing more annoying to me than poor customer service, especially when attempting to accomplish a task over the phone and there's no eye contact.  Recently I had a refreshing experience when visiting a particular retail store for the first time-EVER! I had put it off for quite some time because although I'd done my research, I was still not confident in my ability in purchasing a precise product. Thanks to the lovely employee who assisted me, the otherwise dreaded chore was a success. Once the sale was finalized after I'd expressed how much I appreciated and admired not only her professionalism, but most importantly her customer service skills by listening to my concerns, she was very enthusiastic in expressing how I made her day. The entire scenario actually went a bit deeper to the point where our conversation continued once I made it home and there may have been a few tears, but I'll spare you the details. Aside from a job offer a friendship developed as well, all due to her exercising the basic skill of listening. 
       We often forget how important it is to offer a listening ear whether in our work environments or socializing with friends and family. Even our significant others when we know they have good intentions, but listening is not a skill that everyone possesses. I willingly admit that I have been guilty of this over the years. We have good intentions as it's our nature to want to help others be it in a customer service situation or a loved one. The issue is that first of all, we can't be of assistance when we don't take time to listen in an effort of discovering the actual need. Often in our haste, we begin throwing out suggestions and advice before acquiring the necessary information. I'm certain that at some point we've all experienced both sides of this scenario.  I've been quick to offer advice when it wasn't being sought as well as receiving advice that had nothing to do with what I was saying because while the person may have been hearing my words, they weren't actually listening. It can be extremely frustrating, especially when I know that individual thinks they're helping. In recognizing that feeling, I do my best to stay mindful of how vital it can be to simply offer a listening ear.
       Obviously, there are various reasons we can be so quick to give advice. Some believe they are what I like to call "fixers", thinking they have all the answers to fix the problems at hand. The reality is no one can nor is the other party (in most cases) expecting us to solve their problems. Then there are those who for their own reasons feel it gives them purpose, those who yearn to feel needed. Unfortunately, the downside (speaking from personal experiences) is that when people feel they are not being heard it can cause them to shut down and become withdrawn. They begin to hold things in which as we know can be unhealthy. We all want/need to be heard to an extent. Every V.O.I.C.E. matters, which is the beauty of it. When we truly listen and engage by not necessarily offering our opinions or advice, but by asking questions and being present in the conversation, we provide encouragement and hope in the form of empathy. Along with that provides a sense of comfort by establishing trust, because regardless of who's doing the listening or the talking, we have now become equals. Neither person is greater or less than the other because we've established what I refer to as a safe zone. When we listen it's also an opportunity to learn and grasp insight for ourselves. That's not to say the two parties need to agree, but by listening we can discover a person's train of thought, perhaps a broader perspective on the matter or simply acquiring a better understanding of the relative/friend we care about. 
      Through all my social engagements with employees, co-workers, my children as well as friends regardless of which side I'm on (listening or talking), I've learned that the biggest gift of having a listening ear can also have a huge positive affect. During these chaotic times when many are facing mental health challenges, suicides deaths are increasing and those who are depressed due to current circumstances, let's keep in mind that although we have good intentions, now more than ever we can make a difference. We never know how close to the edge someone may be and may possibly even save a life when we offer a listening ear to our loved ones and those who may not have options for other outlets.   

Published by 5thgenerationgirl

Tammy Wynette is a mother of three and a โ€œG-MAโ€ (grandma). Born in Warren, Arkansas, she currently resides in Sacramento, CA and is pursuing an AA degree in English at American River College, with plans to transfer to California State University, Sacramento (Sac State). She is an active leader and role model in her community, she works with teens sharing and teaching poetry, as well as providing insight for young parents to prosper. She has certificate from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness) and is a trailblazer & Griot, keeper of stories/traditions passed down from her ancestors. As an Author and motivational speaker itโ€™d be an honor to present at your events to inspire, encourage & let our VOICES be heard! She has short stories and poems published in Our Black Mothers Brave, Bold and Beautiful!

51 thoughts on “Good Intentions

  1. i know exactly what you mean. i filled out a form on something i was thinking of investing in and all i get are robo calls from some filipino agents whom barely understand english. arrgh! cavaet emptor~!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome! You are a wonderful person and your thoughts are so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this experience. I do agree that itโ€™s important to be a good listener.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Time to drop my “fixer” tendencies and lend more of a listening ear.
    My country is currently dealing with a rise in suicide deaths. Thanks for sharing your thought at this particular time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said. Listening is so important and I know I havenโ€™t always been as good at it as I should be. I get excited and blurt things out. I used to also get mad and explode. I also am a good friend who listens to a friend who needs to talk and have been the friend who needs to talk (rant). We are all a work in progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Listening is a skill and many don’t have that skillset or don’t bother to use it. It such a powerful thing to feel heard by someone. I’m glad you had that experience with the customer service person. I stick with t-mobile as so many of their customer service people are so helpful and honoring with their good listening skills.

    I co-taught a team building workshop with a friend. We were working with a family owned business that wanted to clean things up so they could hire outside family as well. My friend taught a listening skills piece and I learned a lot along with the participants. She had a “card deck” of various healthy listening techniques and each participant would draw a card and then practice using that skill with another participant. Seems like good listening skills would be a great subject to teach children and young adults as well so people would grow up learning how to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Listening is indeed a skill that is so needed, yet it is so overlooked or even disregarded Tammy. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Although retail has been a big part of my work experience, I know how I’ve been treated and so I always tried my best to treat others better, hoping the courtesy would catch on. Sometimes it does and sometimes it is rejected.
    I also agree with you that in our need to help by giving advice, we often start rattling off solutions that may not fit the need. GUILTY!!! โœ‹๐Ÿผ I think those of us who are truly compassionate find ourselves in the “fixer” mode sometimes, and we end up depleting our personal energy when we don’t have to.
    As the Stylistics sang “Stop, Look, Listen,” (circa 1971), we may indeed need to listen to our heart and hear what it’s saying! Great reflections for today QT! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’๐Ÿฅฐ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there my soul sister, I have learned with age and by simply observing yet still working at it. This is one of those little things that really seem to get under my skin from both directions. When I guilty & realize it, I feel horrible but we’re all a work in progress.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Girlfriend, donโ€™t you know it? Still a work in progress and I am okay with that! While we may not be perfect, we are certainly aware of the emotion and consequences surrounding our listening skills. To get clarity, we gotta listen. ๐Ÿ‘‚๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‚๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‚๐Ÿผ Yet, itโ€™s so hard to get others to follow suit, and learn to exercise their listening skills too! We can see a solution, just getting there is the challenge! UGH!!! ๐Ÿ˜

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Good customer service goes such a long way, doesnโ€™t it? Iโ€™m glad you had this experience. And even more, you in turn provided something that I think so rarely gets reciprocated โ€“ recognition and kindness.

    I also hear you โ€“ see what I did there โ€“ on the listening part. I view this from the perspective of a special needs parent and the endless unsolicited advice I get from family. But I can see it apply in all areas of life too. So many conflicts and misunderstanding can be mitigated and avoided with active and empathetic listening.

    Happy Sunday, Tammy! ๐Ÿ™

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always want to give you the biggest hugโฃActually it was one of your earlier post where you mentioned the advice of family (along with my recent experience) that motivated this. And yes it applies to so many areas. Thanks my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Listening ears are so important these days and vastly underrated. A lot of people talk to talk and not to listen. It’s a sad affair because we need each other. Life is so hard even on good days . This is a great post ๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So much wisdom here. I didn’t really start learning till recently the difference between ‘listening with an eye toward fixing’ and just listening. It’s a huge, huge difference, and the other party really responds well and opens up more when they receive open listening, not listening/ jumping in with ‘have you tried this?,’ ‘have you thought about that?’

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A company psychologist was giving me feedback on her evaluation of me. She said I was not a risk taker. I interrupted and argued with her. In her written report, she also indicated that I was not a good listener! I have been working on it ever since.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I used to manage call centers and I would always tell the team to remember that they may have fifty conversations that day, but for the person they are speaking to on the phone, that could be their only one. If it was positive or negative, they could have a real impact on that personโ€™s life. Those interactions are so important!

    Liked by 1 person

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