My daughter has become a beautiful teen ager. Ugh. She has a boyfriend who looks like Tom Cruise when he was in "Risky Business". Double Ugh. But the kid is completely respectful and well-mannered and he's also willing to deal with a dad who won't let those two have more than 30 seconds together unless it's daytime or we're with them. So okay, her facebook status is "in a relationship". Ugh. So I started a blog of common sense guidelines for relationships. She's coming to the age where learning to avoid some of the (millions of) mistakes I made, might be a good thing. I thought I'd just share the latest post with you guys. Just something a little light and off the norm of complaining about politics. What the heck, why not? Too many conversations are an exercise in one of two things: 1. People waiting for the other person to finish speaking so they can what THEY want to say. 2. People half-listening (or less) to the other person,while they are really giving most of their to something else. Here it is from Shelton's Rules On Relationships Learn to REALLY Listen Many of us have lost our ability to really communicate. Communication isn't expressing your thoughts or ideas to others. It's exchanging thoughts and ideas with others. If you don't give them your full attention, why should they give you theirs? Once upon a time, I was as guilty of this as anyone. If my wife or daughter talked to me during a football game or episode of my favorite show, if they shared ideas with me while I was on my computer, I "sort of" paid attention to them. Ironically, I would later get upset if they did the same to me while watching their programs or texting. So being of the belief that change starts with me, I developed a new habit. When either of them starts talking to me, I simply pause my program or turn my face completely away from the computer. What's funny is that at first, they thought I was getting frustrated or felt like they were somehow "interrupting" what was going on in my life at the moment. But it's your friends, lovers and family that are life - the tv, phone and computer are the interruptions. When you're old, you will probably never say "If only I'd watched a little more tv or sent one more text, instead of paying attention to the person I loved!". So everything is set aside for a moment. If I can't stop because I'm working, I let them know how long it will be, before I can give them my full attention. This is far better than trying to do both things at once because if you want someone to feel unloved, ignore them. They know that when I'm listening, I'm really listening. I'm looking at them, nodding and giving feedback (but not dominating the conversation). So when my daughter gets home from school, she goes into her room, sets down her things and comes into the living room, fully expecting the tv to be off and the computer set aside. She loves sharing all the details of her day with Maria and me and we love hearing about them. Funny thing about that. Now when I talk to my daughter, she sets her phone aside and maintains eye contact.