If you haven’t heard of the “Tao of Pooh”, then it may come as a surprise that the old bear said some very wise things. As Pooh searched for honey in the Hundred Acre wood, he often made remarks about the world that may be used as reminders of some of the ways that we can improve the way we relate and communicate with our family and friends.
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
It is worth reminding ourselves to listen carefully to those we live and work with. We’ve all gone through the motions, particularly if we’re busy and pre-occupied. Things like pretending to listen while secretly writing shopping lists in our heads.. or planning our answer before the other person has finished speaking.
However, being productive and happy often depends upon giving your full attention in each moment, this is especially true in close relationships when listening can really make the difference between feeling loved or not. Listening is also important when we’re facing a challenge and need to solve a problem: We need to really listen to the other person’s point of view so that we are more able to understand it.
“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
People often don’t appear to listen ( anyone with a teenager?). Often, it’s about the time it takes them to process information. Wait and give them time.
Try different approaches; often it just a matter of framing the question in the right way, to get them to see things from the other person’s perspective. As Pooh said, it may just be that they have a piece of fluff in their ear.
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Keeping it simple often works best. Life is too busy and complicated, and for the most part, people want simplicity. We live in a world of deadlines and data. As always, there is a time and place for deep and meaningful conversations. It’s often a matter of choosing the right moment, and the right words. Keeping in touch these days only needs a quick text message or phone call. Be proactive in staying in touch, even it’s just to say hello.
Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to communicate, and to strengthen our relationships with family and friends.
Meet them in the middle.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
This one speaks for itself. True friendships are founded in mutual respect. It is important to keep communicating. Whether it’s someone going through a divorce, wanting to stop an old habit like smoking or someone starting out and leaving home.
With this in mind, it is worth bearing in mind that our only constant is change. Children become adults. Friends learn new skills, we travel and work; and change our view of the world. So long as we understand that, and we know what’s important to us, then the way we communicate will be as rich and rewarding as ever:
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow. ― William Shakespeare
“You never can tell with bees.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
In Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, he related the story of a man on a train who stood by whilst his two boys shouted and misbehaved. Affronted with this, Stephen felt compelled to challenge the man. After speaking with him, Stephen soon discovered that the man was in shock, bereft that his wife had just died; and that the boys were as distressed as he was. Upon realising the circumstances, Stephen changed his perspective on the situation and offered to help. That’s the thing with people. You just can never tell. Sometimes it’s worth reserving judgement until you understand all the facts.
We would like to thank A.A.Milne, and Winnie-the-Pooh for sharing their wisdom. We certainly hope that you enjoyed these tips and found some useful pointers for the next time you speak with a loved one. Time for something sweet!?