Imagine you are being told:
“I am sorry I didn’t call but something came up.”
<a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/search/sense+of+hearing" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Source</a>
The person who is speaking sounds:
The person who sounds sad is telling the truth. The other two, probably not.
Imagine someone is standing before you says;
“You know that girl who sits behind you…?”or”You know that nice woman who sits behind you…”
The first doesn’t have much respect for the ‘girl’. The second not only respects, but likes her.
If you listen you get a lot of details.
<a href="https://www.slideshare.net/SarmisthaMitra/art-of-listening-59007783" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Source</a>
When you have a problem with someone, you don’t like them, or they have been antagonistic, if you speak to them in a friendly voice and ask them about themselves or their children, and do so with a kind of concern, and really listen, and ask questions, you’ve just flipped the relationship.
You don’t have to like the person, you don’t have to really care, but if you can portray a person who cares and is interested, it is going to be very difficult for that person to maintain animosity.
Saying; “How are you..” in that distracted voice, NO. Standing around and counting clouds; no. Look at the person when they talk. Sure, you’ll drop your eyes not and then so as not to stare, but you make eye contact, you show expression on your face. You listen, and think about what you have been told.
And then, if you see them again, and can ask a question; “Did you carry your son to the doctor?” or; “Did you find your keys?” topics that were mentioned in that first conversation, you proved you have listened, and this will cement the more beneficial relationship.
It is just a matter of listening.