Conversation 101: Theres a Time to Help, Hug or Listen
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Conversation 101: Theres a Time to Help, Hug or Listen

Conversation 101: Theres a Time to Help, Hug or Listen

Have you ever found yourself jumping into a conversation with advice, only to realize later that the other person just needed someone to listen? I've been there. In my marriage, I used to believe that my role was to fix every problem presented to me, only to learn that sometimes, all my partner needed was a hug or someone to listen. Understanding the true nature of conversations can be the key to deeper connections and healthier relationships.

Since the dawn of humanity, our innate need to connect and belong has been ingrained in us. While survival was once tied to tribal connections, today, the need for meaningful connections remains just as vital. Without it, we can feel lost, depressed, or even afraid. As a relationship coach, my passion lies in helping people communicate effectively, especially during conflicts. However, many conversations falter because we fail to recognize the underlying needs of the person we’re speaking with.

Charles Duhigg, author of “Super Communicators,” sheds light on an essential aspect of communication: understanding the type of conversation we're engaging in. He categorizes conversations into three main types: practical, emotional, and affirming. Practical conversations involve problem-solving, emotional ones require empathy and support, and affirming conversations focus on validation and belonging.

In many instances, individuals approach conversations with preconceived notions, assuming the other person’s needs based on their own preferences or biases. For example, those who solve problems all day at work or in the home may default to offering solutions when their partner simply needs emotional support, while others may assume that every conversation starter seeks a hug rather than practical advice.

John Gottman, a leader in relationship research and author of “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” suggests that couples should spend 20 minutes a day active listening with their partner. Not to offer advice, but simply listen and let your partner know that you hear them and understand their struggles. Perhaps after sharing, and the person feels they have been heard and feels supported, they may ask for advice. Conversations can be fluid and shift from one aspect of what is needed to another.

In conclusion, to truly connect with others, it's essential to discern the nature of the conversation and respond accordingly. Whether someone seeks help, a hug, or just a listening ear, understanding their underlying needs can foster deeper connections and mutual understanding. 

So, the next time you engage in a conversation, pause to consider what the other person truly needs. And if you're not sure, simply ask, “How can I support you the most right now? Are you looking for advice, a hug, or a safe space to work it out on your own?” By taking this approach, you can create a supportive and empathetic environment where meaningful connections can thrive.

Meet Our Thought Leader

Owner of Beachside Health & Life Coaching, LLC, Johnny Lascha is a certified life coach and health coach, trained in the Habit Change Coaching Method. His niches include relationships, increasing energy, lowering stress, rebuilding self-esteem, weight loss and reducing the habit of self-sabotage.  He’s also a group facilitator of the Gottman Institute’s ‘Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.'


Johnny Lascha
Beachside Health & Life Coaching Services

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