A skill I feel too many people lack is the ability to listen and/or pay attention. There is more to it than just being a sounding board (although sometimes even that is all somebody really needs or wants). I think one of the last quotes in the article (link below) nails what listening is all about…”it’s the combination of a quiet mind and an honest intention”. Tune out the computer, your cell phone, thoughts about lunch, dinner, plans after work…you get the point…tune it all out and LISTEN to the individual(s) with an honest intent and more rewarding relationships will follow.
I highly encourage you to read this article on ways to become a better listener, everyone can benefit from it.