Real-time conversation is the glue that keeps our relationships together. It’s important to stay present in conversations with others because it signals that we are there in the moment with the other person.
“In a conversation, we can be present by listening and resisting the temptation to interpret, assume, predict, or come up with a reply while the person is still talking,” Tuazon explains. “This could mean physically moving bodies to face each other or making eye contact. Listening can also mean asking someone a follow-up question or repeating back what you heard to see if you understand.”
One sign that you aren’t being present in a conversation, she notes, is when you totally miss what the other person said or can’t repeat back what they said later on. But she adds, “This is a very normal human thing to do. If that’s the case, take accountability for it and see what the other person may need for repair.”
Being present is fully engaging with the person you are with. Depending on the topic, this may call for offering advice, empathizing, or just using active listening. The more you practice being in conversation with someone, the easier it gets.