You know how when you talk to your spouse/significant other or friends it’s sometimes obvious they’re not listening.

Truth be told, a lot of people are not good listeners. They’re often preoccupied with other thoughts, just want peace and quiet or are waiting for you to finish talking so they can have the floor.

That said, I don’t know of a person who doesn’t want to be heard.

Today’s Lesson

Age, maturity or whatever you want to call it, has taught me that no one person can be our “everything”. Even if we feel we’ve met our soul mate, they’re not going to want to hear our every word, our every thought and/or our every feeling.

That’s where friends and relatives fill some of the voids.

Even then, our real life relationships may not be enough, especially if we’re interested in topics they don’t care about.

I know with this blog, even though my loved ones support my blogging activities, they don’t care to hear about every little detail I post online. Hence, you’ve become sounding board, even if you don’t comment.

I think that’s why mommy/daddy blogs are so popular. Some parents need to vent, need to share, and turn to blogging as a way to do so. Online they’re bound to find a few people who share their feelings or who will give them a different perspective to consider.

Blogging becomes not only a way to “speak” to others, but a way to be heard.

If we check our stats and see we had visits, we believe our words are being read. If we receive comments, we feel our beliefs are being validated.

That’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

Once we know/believe we’ve been heard, we can leave our computer with a feeling of satisfaction and go back into the real world with a sense of fulfillment.

It’s a win-win.

We got to vent to others whom we believe are listening, and our loved ones are spared from hearing about topics they have no interest in.

A word of warning. Blogging and social networking are not meant to replace communication in our real life relationships although the line between the two can become blurred.

Today’s Assignment

Do you feel blogging is helping or hurting your real life relationships?

Care to share?

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P.S. Patricia of Patricia’s Wisdom is very aware of the importance of being heard and has created a site named Wise Ears. For a small fee she will be your sounding board and confidant.

Photo Credit: Adreson

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  1. AdelineNo Gravatar says:

    For me, blogging can go either way when it comes to relationships. It’s helpful in that we can learn from other people’s advice on dealing with my personal relationships. Just as long as we keep an open mind and understand the fact that each person is unique so don’t expect that just because you do a certain suggestion, you’d expect the same results mentioned.
    Check out Adeline’s awesome post.Land, Water or Air – How to Choose the Best Way to TravelMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Adeline,

      That’s a good point. What works for one person may not work for another. I also like what you said about us being able to learn from others – that’s true whether online or off.

  2. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I think blogging definitely does help my outside relationships – though most haven’t a clue what it’s about, neither are they interested. Though when they do find out they’re bemused and interested … but little more – for now.

    Blogging is my way to stay sane during the course of my mother’s illness – and actually I’d almost say it’s my University Degree of facets of life that interest me — as I’ve learnt far more in the last 3 years or so, than I’ve done since forever probably.

    PS your comment luv needs a tweak ..thanks .. Hilary

    http://www.positiveletters.com

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      Like you, blogging helps me with real life relationships, too. In the real world we’re not necessarily going to find close friends or relatives with the same interests as us, but online it’s almost certain we will.

      The next time you comment, try adding the “.blogspot” and see if that works. Other than that, I can’t seem to figure out what the problem is. :(

  3. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Helping, especially since Karen and I both blog. Also, through blogging connections, I’ve become more open-minded and less likely to be judgmental about people who are different than I’m used to, not that it was a significant issue for me before blogging.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      I like how you and Karen are both blogging now. That has to be a lot of fun, plus you can give each other suggestions, etc.

      You’ve raised a good point. When we blog, we meet people from all backgrounds and when they’re sharing why they are like they are, it’s easier for others to have empathy and not judge.

  4. Jo WakeNo Gravatar says:

    Computers are a complete mystery to my hubby, but he does read my blogs when I turn them into a blog book. I don’t think its made much difference to our relationship as such although I think being able to talk to people on the internet as well as blogging has certainly helped me over the years.
    Check out Jo Wake’s awesome post.Storms, Nutrition and ObesityMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jo,

      I know what you’re saying. My husband isn’t computer savvy either, but it is a good feeling when they take interest in what we do and even read some of our work.

  5. maddieNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging is my sanity keeper. It gives me the kind of validation that I used to get at work. Even though I know I’m important to my husband and kids, I still need the people the blogging world has brought into my life. I can be more than the diaper-changing, husband-theory sounding board.

    I get a chance to share my stories and ideas and have people who empathize or have other clever ideas, share back. It has really enriched my life.

    Even coming here and reading what you have to say is important to me. It’s like having a mentor that holds your hand while you learn to do something that you want to do. More importantly, the mentor is a real person and not just text on a screen.

    But, I do keep perspective. I’m only a part-time blogger because my family is very important to me. My kids shouldn’t have to compete with my extra-curricular activities for attention. My husband on the other hand…just kidding.
    Check out maddie’s awesome post.what babies and toddlers need for travel – part 2My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Maddie for your kinds words.

      I think a lot of us bloggers feel like you do. Our blogging community becomes our sounding board on topics our partners, friends and/or kids have no interest in.

      I like what you said about how your kids and husband shouldn’t have to compete with your extra-curricular activities. Sounds like you have a good balance.

  6. RachaelNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think blogging has really effected my relationship not at least with my fiancĂ©e , I mean he encourages me to blog and reads it and I know he backs me fully. In a way I think bloggin has helped me with my social skills when it comes to the outside world. Before blogging I wasn’t very sure of myself, but I feel i’m more comfortable and confident in myself through meeting like minded people or people that are just generally different that I know it’s ok to be outside of the crowd. Blogging is just my hobby to make the evenings go by.
    Check out Rachael’s awesome post.Cherry RedMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Rachael,

      That’s true. Blogging can help us become more confident and comfortable in the real world, especially with sharing our opinions. In some ways it’s like we can first “test” them out online, and go offline knowing our thoughts aren’t abnormal.

  7. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! Blogging sure helps me say what needs to be said, and gives me an outlet for all the tons of research I do having a place to go. I think it may help “the family” since I’m so less apt to talk about it all once I’ve written the blog. Ya know, hubs told me when I went back to school for nutrition he would support me in all my efforts as long as I didn’t become a pain in the ass to live with! Ha! I just don’t make an issue of what I’m feeding him anymore – fortunately he will eat most of it totally unquestioningly – as long as I spring a bit of meat here and there so he doesn’t fear being a vegetarian. So all in all, writing about it allows me an outlet and spares the family lectures – it’s all good. :)
    Hugs
    Susan

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re funny Suzen,

      I hear you. I know if I talked about blogging, I’d bore my friends and family to death. So like you said, a blog is a great place to share our other interests and not burden loved ones with topics they just don’t care about.

  8. GarrettNo Gravatar says:

    I find blogging to be a great outlet for frustration and boredom. My girlfriend is also very supportive and even wants to start her own blog after showing her around wordpress. Seeing as how it’s provided a shared-hobby for us, I’d say blogging has improved my relationship. :D
    Check out Garrett’s awesome post.Corgi BananaMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Garrett,

      That’s great your girlfriend wants to blog too. I think having that shared interest not only helps a relationship, but you can learn from each other at the same time.

  9. JoyNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve had the privilege of meeting quite a few bloggers as well as hosting a few in my living space..so in my case my online connections have become some of my closest offline friends. I live a pretty unconventional, heart based life, which many of my closest offline friends support only peripherally, so it is a joy to connect with people who live the same lifestyle..very encouraging and inspiring. What I learn online inspires me to create offline…and what I experience offline is what I share online; a natural flowing cycle that I enjoy because my online time is very limited–I prefer to be offline exploring and experimenting.
    I also know that many create an online persona–a very edited, scripted version of self–so to be careful and wise when relating, much as I am offline.
    For me, it is definitely win-win!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joy,

      I like what you said. And it’s true, some of our online friends can become real life friends. In that case,”the blog” becomes a common denominator.

      Good point. Some bloggers edit and script how they want to be perceived online. In that case, it’d be interesting to see what they’re really like in the real world.

  10. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging as a way to be heard … I like that.

    I do think blogs act like lightening rods when we share our values and our stories. Opposites attract, but similarities bind.
    Check out J.D. Meier’s awesome post.5 Practical Tips for Living in a State of Inner PeaceMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you J.D.,

      That’s perfect. “Opposites attract, but similarities bind”, and so true. :)

  11. Barbara, in answer to your commentary and questions about significant others listening to us, I have finally learned that I don’t need to burden my husband with too many details. We both are better off this way. We are fortunate to be retired and able to walk to nearby restaurants for lunch each day – our opportunity for undivided attention sharing.

    My husband subscribes to my blog and I know he reads it because he often comments on or asks me about something I have written in my diary blog. He doesn’t comment directly on my blog very often. A long time friend is the best at leaving comments or asking questions. However, just yesterday my husband posted a photo and a scanned photo on my blog for me. I love my blog’s new look. I love my husband for doing what I wanted to do with my blog, A Park College Diary 1961-1965.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara,

      I know what you’re saying. Although we might have a lot we want to get off our chest (or just share) doesn’t mean our spouses are the only ones to share that with.

      That’s cool how your husband helped you with your blog. And you’re right. It does look good. :)

  12. mateiNo Gravatar says:

    Well, as a copywriter and also as a tech and sports blogger, my online activities keep me busy for about 12 hours per day, or even more in most of the cases. Luckily, my fiance doesn’t work so I can take a break and stay with her whenever I want or whenever she wants.
    But in my case, blogging doesn’t affect nothing. Maybe a bit, but only in a positive way.
    Check out matei’s awesome post.LG Thrill 4G Launched at AT&T! Full Review!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Matei,

      That’s great how your position allows you to spend time with your fiance whenever either of you chooses. To me that sounds like the perfect set up.

  13. A number of my friends read my blog, but do not comment. Even when I’ve mentioned one of them in the blog or have sung their praises, they shy away. Some of these people are very fussy about what they read so are judgmental/opinionated about writing. Therefore, I suspect they are fearful of being critiqued.

    When I first started blogging, I noticed that the phone rang less and less. When I’d get together with friends, I realized, they thought they knew all sorts of little tidbits about me because they’d been reading the blog. They felt they had contact with me while I was feeling more and more isolated. I had to talk to them about it. They saw what was happening, but had not even considered that I was not on the receiving end of news. It’s better now.

    As I live alone and am newly retired, blogging has given me an outlet for expressing myself. I make a point of balancing my time on the computer with ample opportunities for socializing and volunteering. You see, I also have other interests (eg – stock market) that take me to the computer so it’s a balancing act.

    I would love to meet some of my blogging buddies. I am meeting and having lunch with a reader in a week or so. That will be very interesting!

    http://souldipper.wordpress.com

    I see now that my gravatar is not being accepted on your site. Is it about rival platforms? Curious!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amy,

      How interesting. I never thought of how by having a blog our friends might think we don’t need to meet physically. That was smart of you to speak to them and tell them it bothered you.

      I do think blogging can make us feel isolated if we don’t find that balance between our off and online life.

      P.S. I’m not sure why your link isn’t showing up. CommentLuv recently had an update and ever since then it’s seems a little wonky.

  14. Wise EarsNo Gravatar says:

    What a great post Barbara, and of course I am working my life energy around being a professional listener – so I like this connection and your words very much.

    Did you know that the number one issue that Dear Abby and Ann Landers had to deal with was people not listening to what was being said and then others not hearing even.. and now we have so many distractions and information to deal with it is even harder and we want to take shortcuts. Also those women had to deal with the “best friend” going on and on about the same thing and driving friends and family crazy… friends and family often do not know HOW to move the person forward because they are not truly listening. We have a lot of brain shortcuts that do not serve us well!

    Thanks again for your wise words
    Check out Wise Ears’s awesome post.Husband HearingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Patricia,

      Thank you for sharing that about Dear Abby and Ann Landers. However, I’m not surprised. :( I think listening is a skill we either learn or choose not to. That said, it’s tough for anyone who has relationships with non-listeners as the conversation ends up being one sided and leaves the less talkative one feeling like their thoughts/opinions are irrelevant.

  15. Blogging definitely offers a medium to vent, speak and interact. While it could never replace the traditional face-to-face conversation, it sure enables us to be heard. Meeting people who are thousands of miles away and yet connected by a medium is something absolutely mind-boggling.

    Sometimes I seem to spend far too much time on the net instead of say, going for a walk or talking to a loved one but I have not allowed this medium to replace the “real” one.

    Good post and great comments, Barbara.

    Have a lovely remainder of the week.

    Joy always,
    Susan

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Susan,

      You’re right. It is amazing how we can communicate with others from around the world and receiving that feeling we’re being heard.

      I think it’s easy to spend too much time online, however it’s easy to remedy that too. Just step away from the computer, and if need be, shut it off. :)

  16. ShailjaNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging is the great way to express your feelings and thoughts, and put it in front of others. Sometime people don’t want to hear you but they get ready to read from you. May be they don’t like the way you talk but like the way you write.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Shailja,

      That’s a good point. Our written words may have a bigger impact on others than our spoken words.

  17. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I attended a Buddhist talk and during the presentation, the monk asked, “who do you think is the most important person in your life?” Many of us were guessing that the answer would be our parents, spouse or loved ones. However, it turned out that the answer was “the person sitting next to and talking to you.” The reason is that this is the person that you need to pay attention to, rather than have your mind drift off and not be focused on the present moment.

    Blogging has definitely helped me in my relationship. There is ample opportunity to reflect and think, since I blog about personal development topics. However, I also share the opinion that social networking should not replace real communication.
    Check out Evelyn Lim’s awesome post.Let Your Inspired Dreams Take FlightMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      Thank you for sharing that story. It’s true. Those whom we’re talking to/with deserve our undivided attention. By not paying attention is like showing disrespect. Great lesson, Evelyn.

  18. “Blogging and social networking are not meant to replace communication in our real life relationships” – I 100% agree.

    Now that I’ve closed comments on my blogs, I don’t view blogging as a relationship thing. It’s simply an outlet fora writer,itching to write and voice her opinions. :)
    Check out Vered DeLeeuw | Social Media Consultant’s awesome post.Automatic Social Media PublishingMy Profile

  19. ReikaNo Gravatar says:

    Lots of wonderful ideas :) For me blogging is nothing more than a day job and an outlet to rant and express our thoughts. Like most of us here, real life communication is the best way to vent out.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Reika,

      Yes. Speaking up in the real world is the ideal way to vent, however if our social circles are small, blogs are like the next best thing.

  20. You’re so right. Blogging is no replacement for true social interaction. For many of us turning to blogging as a career, it’s hard work, and we still need some “real” social interaction!
    Check out Barry Wheeler’s awesome post.Social Media is a Fad Right?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barry,

      I’m glad you brought that up. Many do blog as a profession, but just like any job. we need a break away from to regroup, meet up with others and just relax.

  21. Kira YamatoNo Gravatar says:

    You’re right Barbara. Some people really don’t listen to you but I disagree that no one really cares to listen. If someone is open-minded to any new ideas or thoughts they have a possibility to listen to everything.
    Check out Kira Yamato’s awesome post.how to flirt with a girlMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kira,

      You’re right. It’s not that EVERYONE doesn’t care what we have to say. Fortunately if we do have a blog, on those days when we feel others may not be interested in our thoughts, we have an outlet.

  22. My blog’s objective is to be authentic, professional, and demonstrative of a certain level of expertise. This helps in my real-life interactions, as I feel the need to live up to the “brand” since I never know who will be interacting with me virtually as well.

    Basically, best foot forward in one realm leads to best foot forward in the other – or maybe it’s vice versa!
    Check out David K Waltz’s awesome post.Big Data in the HouseMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      That’s smart on your part – to create a brand and let it guide you, as you said, to live up to it. I think by doing that, it helps to keep us authentic.

  23. philNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging should never replace social interaction – but finding someone online who understands can be really satisfying. Just a question of finding a balance I guess…
    Check out phil’s awesome post.How To Grow Broad BeansMy Profile

  24. Monica ClarkNo Gravatar says:

    I’m new to blogging, but I can’t tell you how much information I’ve gained, connections I’ve made, or sheer enjoyment I’ve had from reading about topics that interest me or people’s inspirational stories. I was skeptical of the blogosphere at first, but the more I delve into it, the more I believe that it can build positive relationships between people and businesses. I agree that everyone, at some point in their lives, wants to know that they have been heard, appreciated, or valued. And, it is kind of cool to see one’s words published on a blog!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Monica,

      I hear you. Blogging has more benefits than we could ever imagine. Like you, I was also skeptical, but now believe blogging friendships can become just as important as real life ones.

      And yes. Seeing our words published is pretty cool, too. :)

  25. Wow Barbara! How do you do it day in and day out. You always write posts that seem to speak right to us. Love it. I found this part you wrote funny:

    A word of warning. Blogging and social networking are not meant to replace communication in our real life relationships although the line between the two can become blurred.

    Julie
    Check out Julie @ jbulie’s blog’s awesome post.Success StoriesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Julie,

      It’s pretty easy for me to continue to write on blogging topics since I never get tired of talking about blogging. I’m happy to hear my topics resonate with you.

  26. Noel AddisonNo Gravatar says:

    I can really relate with this post. Sometime we talk about things that we love which other people are not interested and when we attempt to talk about this with people close to hearts they just let us talk, but don’t listen to what we say. Everybody wants to be heard but none of us care to listen.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Noel,

      I think listening is something we have to learn, and if we’re talking about topics we’re passionate about, even though (some) others appear to be listening, oftentimes their thoughts are elsewhere.

      And in all honesty, we’re probably the same way too – when our friends are bending our ear about something we have no interest in either.

  27. Daniel BlackNo Gravatar says:

    I do agree to a certain extent that blogging and social networking is sort of filling the void that your real relationships can’t but there are many people-especially very young people who find it hard to mingle with real life people, make friends etc-who are replacing their real life relationship by virtual ones. And this is definitely not a good sign.
    Check out Daniel Black’s awesome post.What Everyone Should Know About Your P45My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Daniel,

      That’s a great observation. For those of us who didn’t grow up with social networking or blogs, we learned how to interact in the real world. But in this day and age, kids as young as ten have already learned how to text and interact online. but may lack face to face communication tactics.

  28. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Most of my real life friends and family don’t read my blog. And that’s fine.

    I don’t think blogging takes away anything from my relationships. In fact, I’ve made a few Internet friends along the way.

    So you can say that blogging has enhanced my life, not taken away from it. :)
    Check out Chase March’s awesome post.Teaching Tip: Define Yourself – Word CollageMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      You’re right. When we make friends online, it does improve our life. Plus, if we find others with the same interests (online), we’re less apt to bore our real life friends with those topics.

  29. lol…somehow the idea of the simple act of “blogging” significantly harming a relationship seems funny to me, I guess because it seems silly (obviously harming a serious relationship is far from “funny”). I think the real crux of the problem for most folks is *career* harming their relationships, where maybe one half of the couple is overly careerist and they overlook the needs of their significant other. I think if its just *blogging* that’s causing you to neglect your spouse, one might be veering closer to an OCD type situation ;-)
    Check out freddy k finallyfast.com’s awesome post.10 Ways to Find More Customers through Mobile MarketingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Freddy,

      A blogging/social networking “addiction” could be closer to an OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) type of behavior, however if done in excess, it could hurt a relationship especially if loved ones feel they’re competing with a computer screen.

  30. I was getting that feeling earlier today. I think sometimes you just have to realize other people have a lot of things going on too. It’s not that they’re not listening they could just be going through things themselves.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Gears of War 3,

      That’s true. If others are preoccupied with what’s going on in their life, they’re less apt to give us their undivided attention. In that case, it comes down to timing.

  31. nikkiezach@driverupdateNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging for me is a great way of expressing my thoughts, my ideas and my feelings. I learn a lot from reading other blogs that helps me grow as a human. It is a fact that reading and listening to other people’s though can make you more mature in so many ways. I am single and unattached so I couldn’t tell if it can affect to the partnership..
    Check out nikkiezach@driverupdate’s awesome post.Not Hearing Too Well? Buy Speaker DriversMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Nikkiezach,

      You’re right. We can learn a lot from reading other blogs. If we read the words of those who have “been there, done that”, they often share the mistakes they made, and hopefully we can avoid some of the mistakes and choose a different path.

      I also like how when reading other blogs we get those “ah ha” moments which expand our thinking process.

  32. Definitely helping my relationship!

    We have very good communication, but we have some very different interests. I can go on and on about my things while at the same time, I have learned more about tennis from him then I’d ever want to know.

    Therefore, I write my things online and talk to friends when I feel that I’ve got the last drop of his attention on the subject. He does the same.

    Of course, this is not an option when it comes to things that concern us both.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ana,

      That’s true. When we have different interests from our loved ones, we can get bored hearing about “it”. Having a blog makes for the perfect platform. We can write to our heart’s content, get “it” off our chest, and then spend quality time with loved ones on shared interests.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Who Is Social Networking REALLY Benefiting?My Profile