Be Slow To Speak, & Quick to Listen

I am now 27 years old and I can confidently say that I have a big mouth, why else will I start a blog ? (lol). When I was young, I was applauded for making such bold and strong statements in public about my convictions, believes and (sometimes) fictional opinions. Now, being opinionated either turns me into ‘the angry black woman’, or seems to push people away. That being said, I think it is still important to use your voice to stand up for what you believe, and share your thoughts in the appropriate setting. However, I am now realizing that most friendships as you get older, are sustained because you have to tactfully choose to not voice every opinion.

Recently, a friend of mine shared about his relationship situation with a girl that he is madly in love with, I know the girl and I really like her. However, I did find that things were moving too fast in their relationship, and he was starting to make decisions purely based on infatuation and not logic. Yet again, being in love makes you a lunatic. Me, gently telling him that he should may be slow down, and refocus the goals that he once had before getting into the relationship, pushed him further away. Welpppp... Me apologizing for hurting his feelings and overstepping my boundaries, didn’t help either.

All of this to say:
  1. Before you speak, ask yourself the question: ‘How will this help this person? Or make them better’ (my attentions were genuine, just not delivered to the right person)
  2. Know your audience. Some people like myself, I think, thrive by creating a space for my peers to give me input on how I can better myself internally and externally. Not everyone is built like that, so discern who you give criticism or feedback too, even if its constructive and well intended.
  3. Pull the Oreo trick: Cookies on the outside, cream on the inside. The cream represent the criticism or feedback (better word), the cookies represent the compliments. So start with a compliment or gentle words to set the tone of the conversation, layer it with some feedback (cream), and close it with a compliment.
  4. Be quick to listen, slow to speak. This is hard for some of us. When you care so much about the person, and want them to do well, so you think that your opinion is necessary to vocalize, it’s not always needed.
  5. Let people learn on their own. A sad truth my parents had to learn about raising my siblings and I, sometimes people need to fall and get themselves back up in order to learn. This is scary as you fear how much of a fall they will take in order to learn, sadly for some its best to let them make their own choices, standby them and smile, and hope that they will be okay.

Lesson learned, well, still learning.

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