Really Listening

Listening to what is really said is important in many situations of life. When we are escorting in the morning it is a tool we use.
Does the client want an escort? Listen to what the client says. Companions will frequently say, ‘No,’ but it is important to listen to what the client says. It often happens the companion will say, ‘We don’t need one,’ at the same time the client is saying, ‘Yes, please.’ The client’s wishes are always what we follow.
Sometimes the clients want to tell you their story. They will talk to you all the way up the sidewalk. We will hear stories of the number of children they already have, a dead fetus, an ectopic pregnancy, an empty gestational sac, an abusive relationship, a rape, and much more. Listen to what they are telling you.
It is their need to be heard when they are pouring out their stories.. We respect them and respond to what they are saying. If a client tells you something so private and you respond with, “It is cold today,” they know you aren’t listening to them when they need someone to just hear them.
Some times the clients will not say a word during the walk. They will walk straight ahead. At times they will grasp the escort’s hand or hook their arm through the escort’s arm. They don’t need to tell their stories. They may just need your presence.
Listen to body language too.
Sometimes this is easy. We had a group of three approaching the clinic and when they saw us they started running as fast as they could to the clinic door. Whether these clients mistook us for antis or not, they obviously didn’t want anyone near them. This happens at least once a month.
Sometimes the body language is not as easy to read.
Is the client walking with their arms crossed, shoulders dropped and looking down? It probably means they are nervous or upset. Escorts approach them slowly and talk to them calmly.
Is the client walking with their arms crossed and looking straight ahead, jaws clenched and shoulders stiff? It probably means they are angry. They might be angry with the antis, the escorts or something else. Always listen to what they say to you. Escorts honor their wishes when they tell us to leave them alone. If they want to talk about why they are angry, we listen to them.
The client always sets the tempo for conversation during a walk. If they turn to the escort and seem interested in our conversation, we take the cue to keep talking. If they do not respond, turn away or tuck their heads into the companion’s shoulder, we take the cue to walk them quietly to the door.
This is the client’s visit to the doctor. Only the client can tell us how they are feeling or what they are thinking. We try to never assume since we can only guess from the verbal and body language clues they give us.
The art of listening with all our senses is an important part of escorting.

3 thoughts on “Really Listening

  1. Pingback: Every woman who needs an abortion should get it on the NHS | Edinburgh Eye

    • Thank you for linking to your excellent article on abortion. I particularly liked this: “The most common reason around the world, in every culture, under every regime, for a woman needing to have an abortion is that she has an unwanted pregnancy. Decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies and you decrease the number of abortions.”


  2. Too often we rehearse what to say and how to approach and what to do with our hands and how to drown out the protesters, but without listening and observing and tuning into the client, it is robotic and can be as invasive as the “sidewalk counselors”.

    Great job of capturing the essence of listening, and not only with our ears.

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