How to be a better listener and friend
Sandy (or 'Auntie', as many people call her) is our FIFO Survivor. Her husband works offshore in oil/gas and they've been together for more than 30 years - many of them as a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) family. In that time they've raised two beautiful daughters (both now in their 20s) and moved more than 19 times! Sandy wanted to write for Mining Family Matters to show you can survive FIFO.
"The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply."
A friend recently posted this comment on Facebook and it made me realise I do it all the time.
Often when I'm listening, I'm already thinking about my reply and actually miss what is being said. I wonder what I've missed out on all these years!
This has special relevance at the moment, as the man of the house is in China for work. Skype is difficult. We are left to short, random phone calls - those horrible ones with the delay or the repeated conversation. You try to reply and it's your own voice talking back.
It has taught me to take a breath, pause and then speak.
I am now trying to do this in day-to-day living. I tend to surround myself with positive people who can offer a lot. So now it is time to make a concentrated effort and actually hear
what they are saying.
Here's what I find works well:
- Be precise: I remember going to see a comedian who started on a story, did a detour and about an half hour later we received the end of the first story. Meanwhile we had at least two other stories. It was confusing!
- Show emotion: Nothing worse than those bland tutors who have no feeling or passion in what they are trying to say. After a while all you hear is blah blah.
- Be supportive and open minded. Learn to listen and be caring. Value others' opinions and knowledge on subjects.
- Be confident in what you are saying. Especially at work. Know your subject too.
- Don't be aggressive. If you show threatening behaviour, people will not listen. They'll just switch off.
More from Auntie Sandy:
- Sure I'm a survivor - but fly-out day can still be tough sometimes
- Cutting the apron strings and learning to find your own way
- How to stay calm and carry on when aliens possess your teenagers
- If FIFO life has taught my daughters one thing, it's resilience
- If you want a job done, give it to a busy mum
- Whatever your reason for choosing FIFO, set realistic goals and stick to them
- Yes I'm FIFO: DON'T JUDGE ME!
- Tough love: how to tempt fussy eaters
- From the Pilbara to Indonesia - how I've learnt to love thy neighbour
- Sandy's Law: things always go wrong when you're on your own
- Even for a FIFO survivor, the shit does hit the fan sometimes!
- To raise great kids today, return to the values of yesteryear
- Looking back on how we prepared the girls for school
- Cocktails at breakfast, waterfights and a house full of people - Sandy's perfect Christmas
- Fifty Shades of Sandy: sex and the "experienced" FIFO couple
- Karratha: a little mining town with a big heart
- Striking the right balance between parent and friend as the kids get older
- Coming out as a Kiwi to offer advice to other NZ mining families
- Even FIFO Supermums do it tough sometimes
- Prepare FIFO kids for change and you'll all have amazing adventures
- Yes, mining life can take a toll on friendships
- How to communicate with tetchy teenagers and a husband working offshore
- Give your kids the blessing of hard work and routines
- Special times are what (and when) you make them
- Keeping your cool when travelling with little people in tow
- Goals, routines and other clever clues for FIFO families
- The memorable meltdown moments of a FIFO mum
- The joys of travelling across Australia to a new mining town
- The pros and cons of boarding schools for FIFO kids
- How to relocate AND save your sanity
- How to be happy with and without your partner
- Meet Auntie Sandy, the FIFO survivor
If you've got a question for 'Auntie' Sandy or would like to make a comment about FIFO living, we'd love to hear from you. Click here!