Excuses for NOT Listening

Okay, without naming names, I was on the phone yesterday with one of my biggest fans.  She had just read my previous post on “listening”.  She said it was an interesting post.  Then she continued to say she’s not always interested in what someone is saying so her brain goes elsewhere in the conversation.  She also said she is usually multi-thinking during conversations with others (i.e. thinking about her “to do” list, what she’ll say when this person stops talking, etc.).

This conversation with my reader is a great illustration of someone who really could benefit from learning how to be present, to be in the moment and listen.  Drop the excuses.  Conversations require a speaker and a listener.  If you’re not in one of those roles then where are you when that conversation is taking place?  Are things just passing you by?

Listening is goes two ways.  Give respect and get respect.  If you’re not interested in the topic, listen anyway.  You might actually learn something you didn’t know.  You might actually surprise yourself and find the conversation appealing once you give it a chance.  Or better yet, you might actually just show someone that you care about them through the simple act of listening (whether you’re interested in the topic at hand or not).

Let’s flip this around.  Is everything that comes out of your mouth interesting?  I’m sorry to tell you but probably not.  Do you get upset when people don’t listen to your story?  Lead the way.  If you start to listen, maybe others will start to listen.  Listen and you’ll be heard.

One final thought…how to handle people that have told you something more than 2 or 3 times already?  Maybe they know you’re a bad listener so they’ve developed an unconscious habit of repeating themselves to you.  Break this cycle and show them that your listening (read previous posting for how to actively listen).  Or maybe you were truly listening the first time they told you something.  If that’s the case, instead of tuning them out as they reiterate themselves, simply reply “oh yes, I remember you told me that already (or however you want to politely phrase it)”.  Honesty can do wonders.  It can even help to get others to start to pay attention to what they’re saying.  Eventually, they’ll get it.  Eventually, you’ll get it.

To my biggest fan, please do not take offense.  I love you!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Livii on November 28, 2009 at 4:02 am

    I wanted a list of excuses but this is just a big writing thing!:@


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