[This series on listening is part of my larger series of posts on relationship-based organizing.]
Everything that is democratic, caring, and collaborative in human relationships is created through listening. Thus for the relationship-based organizing model that I advocate on this blog, listening is at the foundation of everything.
And yet, good listening is not easy. Good listening can appear instinctual, unique to each personality, and situation-dependent, all of which make it hard to analyze and strategize about in a way that organizers might find helpful.
I entered adulthood as a bad listener. I wasn’t the kind of person who would talk too much so as to edge other people out of talking, and I listened plenty and asked people questions to evoke their thoughts. But for me the quality, not the quantity, of my listening was what was bad. I didn’t know good listening was a thing, so I just assumed that all listening was more-or-less the same.
My first lesson in good listening was just noticing that some of my friends were good at listening to me. Being listened to made me feel seen and whole, and that was something I wanted to give back to my friends.Continue reading