People come to me for all sorts of reasons and recently I met “Brian” whose problem was that he never listened.
Of course he did listen, just didn’t always hear. In particular he didn’t ‘hear’ what his wife was saying to him and it had become a major issue between them.
Now if you ask any woman a man’s worst fault it’s fairly certain that not listening will be right up there so Brian isn’t unusual!
Brian and his wife both have high pressure jobs, as well as four children, and are in the process of organising a big family celebratory party.
There have been many times when she accused him of not listening to her but things came to a head when Brian repeatedly failed to make a phone call to the caterers despite being asked every day if he had done so.
He’s a bit of a foodie so it really was right for him to be the one who would speak about the meal.
He admitted that it wouldn’t take long to call but he just never got round to it.
He also said that he was getting fed up with the party being the only topic of conversation at home.
Home life for them is fairly chaotic and he agreed that work was a breeze compared to being at home with four children needing attention, help with homework, dinner, bath and bedtime etc. Having his wife bombarding him with talk about the party was too much.
It seemed to me that at work Brian responded to the discipline of a routine, meetings etc and if he applied the same principles at home, maybe it would work better.
I felt that he would listen better if he was scheduled to do so.
I suggested to him that they should have a regular “party meeting” when they sat down together with the to-do list and spoke only about the party.
This would be at a time when the kids were in bed, they were not otherwise busy with chores and they could sit down together and go through the list, add and tick things off or even make calls.
The party would not be discussed at any other time.
Brian liked this idea.
It would, he thought, take away the dread of party talk all the time and I believe this plan has worked.