Recently, I had a non-dramatic, objective discussion about our inclination for creating drama at home and at the workplace. I noted the lack of boundary-awareness, the power struggle and mostly poor communication that exist in the "drama zone." Of course, these negative characteristics lead to extreme stress filled with complaints, excuses and regrets.

After considerable thought, I realized that most drama can be arrested in its tracks by the art of listening without interrupting. We speak all the time to make ourselves heard, to cry for attention. When we disagree or express a personal opinion, we love to be right.We think that in order to be right, we must make the other person wrong. Basically many of us pretend to listen as we tune out the other person while we are involved in thinking about what we are going to say next. Also, we have a habit of interrupting others during a conversation, especially during a heated one.

When you really listen to others, you might be surprised by what you learn. Often people don't have a clear idea of what their point is until they keep talking and finally hit on it. If you interrupt them, you stop them from completing their thought.

Listening levels the playing field and it shows good faith - that you are willing to learn,compromise and improve. Listening helps to reduce misunderstanding and we know what kind of drama misunderstanding triggers.

While you can't change the way another person talks, you can change the way you listen.

Debbie Mandel, Stress Mgmnt EdStress Mgmnt Site Stress Mgmnt Forum