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Oct 31

Listen, Don’t T.R.I.P.

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

tripThis week I’m focusing on five listening moments.

Monday was Listening to Understand
Tuesday was Listen Deeply
Wednesday was Listen Beneath The Surface

Listen In

Too often I thought I knew what someone was going to say. Too often I’ve made wrong assumptions, flawed judgments and drawn the wrong conclusions. I’m well intentioned, but I unfortunately T.R.I.P. and stumble and hurt others.

The acronym T.R.I.P. is a warning to me to be a better listener; maybe it will help you too.

Live It

T – Listen Tenderly
R – Listen Respectfully
I – Listen to avoid Ignorance
P – Listen, be Patient

Tenderness. I am so grateful how many people trust me. On the other hand, people are afraid of me. It happened yesterday. They are not afraid that I am going to hurt them, they just fear that when they say whatever they have to say that they will see a disappointed, frustrated, shocked or horrified look staring back at them.  One of the most challenging parts of listening with empathy is trying to control our reactions, especially our non-verbal reactions. We need to be tenderhearted.

Respectful. When someone says to me “I have a friend who…” I need to respect the possibility that the speaker is referring to a friend that they want to help. It’s also possible that because this is such a tender point (see above) that the speaker is being vague referring to “a friend” because they are unprepared to be honest and direct.
– I have a friend who might be pregnant
– … who’s feeling suicidal
– … who is having marriage problems
– … who might have a (drinking, drug, gambling, porn, etc) problem

When it’s about another person – “a friend” – it’s easier to be blunt and direct.
When it’s about the speaker and we’re blunt and direct it’s easy to appear insensitive. Be careful. Be respectful.

Ignorant. I said “be careful”, because it’s so easy to be wrong. It’s easy to make wrong assumptions about what’s going on.  It’s easy to make flawed judgments about the people involved. It’s easy to draw the wrong conclusions about the motives, the feelings, the thinking, values and intentions of others. Remember, you do not have the whole story!
– Parents try to look good and want you to “fix my kid.”
– Spouses try to assign blame and want the mate “to change.”
– Children try to avoid responsibility and believe it someone else’s “fault.”
It’s easy to be ignorant when you don’t know all the facts. I hate, hate, hate when I react wrongly because I am ignorant.

Patience. When people panic, the tenderhearted of us can get sucked in. We can want immediate change for the safety of the person. The less heart-led and logical of us can see obvious solutions. Unfortunately, we can appear or can be impatient and uncaring awaiting a timely resolution. We need to be patient.

Pray for God’s help – “Please God help me…” – because you don’t want to T.R.I.P. and stumble because you didn’t respond with tenderness, respect and patience.


Note: It’s Halloween, did you wish that I wrote about Halloween? I did last year. Give it a read!

Bring on the comments

  1. Thanks Scott! Have a hopeful, grace filled day.

  2. =) TRIP-free so far; thank you Angi.

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