It is no secret that during tough times, one of the most important things we can do is stay connected with our loved ones. But, sometimes, we get so caught up in the act of staying connected, that we forget to actually be connected and listen carefully to one another. 

When reaching out to an essential worker in your life to check in, make sure you are listening attentively to what they say.  Some signs of attentive listening include:

  • Paying attention to the speaker: Actually listening to what they say instead of preparing your response or thinking about what you want to say.
  • Withholding judgment: During highly stressful times, the last thing people need is to feel judged for expressing themselves honestly.  The fact that essential workers are facing a deadly virus every day can lead to a rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts, and it is important that they feel comfortable expressing themselves to loved ones without fear of judgment or repercussion. 
  • Avoiding interruptions: Be sure to let them finish what they are saying.  This can help avoid assumptions and miscommunications and can give the other person a chance to vent or get it off their chest.  Sometimes, the best thing we can do for someone is allow a safe space for them to “get it all out.” 

To learn more about active listening, click here to view this short HRI video with tips on how to be an active listener.  Parents of young children can learn how to model active listening by visiting this HRI blog post

When we listen to our loved ones attentively and without judgment, we create a safe space in the relationship for open communication and sharing.  This is especially crucial during a time of chaos and uncertainty because it keeps us in tune with one another and aware of our loved ones’ needs during this time, but it also helps to set the foundation for a healthy relationship beyond the pandemic.

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