The Beginning of a Beautiful Journey
There are few times in our lives that are as exciting and nerve-wracking as those first few moments of a new relationship.
We have all felt those butterflies. The “Oh my God what if he/she doesn’t like me, really?” “What do I say to keep them interested?” “Do I smell okay?!” “Does this outfit bring out the best in me?” Not to mention the ba-zillion thoughts that run through our minds the very first time we talk to one another.
Right there, in those first few moments of those first conversations, you are laying the foundation for the success of your potential relationship. Most of us fail to realize the true importance of that first actual conversation and first date.
Let’s clarify, first conversations are those that happen verbally. On the phone, Zoom, or in-person at your favorite coffee shop. This is where you are going to hear the voice, see the face and notice the cues the body automatically has. This moment will either lead to a lasting relationship or a few moments of an interesting experience.
With the lasting relationship being the goal, two things have to happen, active listening and open communication. Most of us tend to listen to respond. Meaning we are half hearing what is being said and we formulate what we will say and how we are going to say it generally to try to force a connection with the other person. We have all done this at one point or another, most use this as their default listening pattern.
Active listening means that you are giving the other person your full attention. You aren’t doodling on a paper, surfing social media, debating about what to make for dinner, or wondering if they realize.
You are making eye contact. You are listening to hear what they are saying and understand who they are. There is no judgment taking place. When you respond, you can respond in accordance with everything they have said. You can summarize back to them part of what they said, ask questions that will help further your understanding. When paying attention to the person who is talking to you as they tell you about something that is important to them and they subtlety smile… or sigh and look away… maybe wring their hands… those are ques that there is more to what they are saying than the words they are using.
Active listening opens the door to another key element for a sound foundation of a long relationship, open communication. When you listen without judgment and pay attention to the other person when they are speaking you build rapport and establish trust. They feel heard and feel as though they can be themselves.
You need to talk to the person you are considering being involved with. Being able to let your walls down, be authentic and let the other person in allows them to know you. It removes the falseness and superficial gimmicks that many of us play with to get a relationship started.
Open communication requires vulnerability. That word that gets thrown around these days like “Hello,” actually means to be open to expressing yourself even though you may fear your feeling being hurt or that you will be judged. But you do it anyway.
Active listening and open communication are two activities to engage in for any relationship to be successful, especially if you are looking for that special someone.