Have you ever had someone ask you a question and no sooner do you give an answer when they give theirs (and often in great detail)? It’s clear at that point they only asked for their own benefit.
Or how about this: You vent to a friend and they reply with a complaint of their own, usually FAR more painful and tragic than yours.
It’s natural. It’s human nature.
Being a good listener involves a huge dose of empathy. Fighting the urge to one-up is a big part of making a good impression and endearing yourself to others.
When my parents were in the late stages of life, I would take them to church. Before getting out of the car to help them out the door, I’d sit for a brief moment, take a deep breath, and remind myself to be patient. Mine is a go-go-go world and I needed to make a conscious effort to slow the train down. After church, we’d typically go to lunch. There, my dad and I would wait as Mom chewed her food until it was liquid before swallowing.
Can you see why I needed extra patience?
Remind yourself to fight the one-up urge. Be the person who replies with a question designed to keep the client talking and not respond with, “Oh, yeah? Well let me tell you what’s on MY mind…”
And keep breathing.
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