What do you do when you’re with your friends?
Do you have meals together? Go shopping? Have deep conversations? Or do you just relax with each other and be comfortable?
We all have different ways and definitions of “spending time with friends”.
Some of us may consider our friends as family, or family as friends. And while we look back at times with friends as blissful and carefree, how often can we actually say that we have mindful conversations with them? It’s not just about deep, heart-to-heart talks, because even then, our minds maybe elsewhere. It’s about being fully present and engaged with the person whom you are conversing with. We’ve talked plenty about being mindful in the workplace, or even during your exercise.
This isn’t all that different.
Often, we find ourselves in conversations where the other person is just constantly on their phone. Sometimes, we’re that friend. It doesn’t matter if it’s work or social media - eyes on your friend, not your phone. Unless it’s an emergency, remind yourself to give your friend you’re with your full attention and respect.
With mindful conversations come mindful listening. Listen carefully to what your friend is saying, and how they’re saying it. Can you hear and feel their emotions through the words they speak? Many a time, non-verbal cues say a lot more than what is being said out loud. Observe, and absorb, all those cues before you respond. As the saying goes, “think before you speak”. Not doing so would mean that you’re merely reacting and being rash.
Mindful conversations are about truly listening and understanding what your friend is saying, without letting your judgements get in the way of things. Only then can you really respond.
That’s it. Just two things to be mindful of.
Additionally, to avoid misunderstandings, relay what you’ve just heard back to your friend. Use your own words to express your understanding of what has just been communicated to you. By doing so, you give your friend a chance to clarify any misconceptions you may have.
This can be applied not only with your friends but with all of your future conversations. You’ll find that so much more can be achieved, be it at work or at home, with mindful communication.
One conversation at a time is all it takes.