Connecting with others is so important. We are social creatures! When you’re with someone, the best way you can show them that you love them and respect them, is by being fully present.
It's all about giving that someone your time, energy, and attention. Here are a few key ways to be present with another person:
Multi-tasking is an enemy to being present. You might think you’re good at it, but it causes you to miss moments.
Smile and maintain eye contact! Body language is nonverbal communication, a lot is said through gestures, eye movement, and posture. Be aware of these things so you don’t miss any cues!
Engage in the activity that the other person is doing WITH them. Whether it's getting on the floor and playing legos with your child, playing a board game with friends, helping your coworker organize the holiday party.
You can do this with anyone in your life. For close relationships, take a moment to do what they love for special quality time. If they love cooking, you can cook with them. If they love gardening, you can garden with them. If they love gaming, you can game with them.
Ask questions to prompt conversation. Give advice if it's requested.
Our own self-talk or mental dialogue is the biggest enemy of being active listening. “What do I say next?” “Do I have a story as good as that one?” “That can’t be right because…” In the meantime, we have mentally disengaged from the conversation. Listen for the right time to ask questions or take your turn speaking but don’t get lost in your thoughts. The goal is simply for the other person to be heard, and perhaps to solve their own problems.
Being fully present when your with a person will strengthen your relationship with them tenfold. The strongest relationships occur where you feel cared about and heard.
Give the people you care about your time and your focus. I hope these tips will allow you to be more present not just with the people you love, but with all the people you come into contact with.
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