Listening is a skill and while I have a long way to go I’ve come a long way baby. So please know that I’m no Saint when it comes to listening but I’m a HELL of a lot better than most and I don’t mind saying so.
I’m sharing this thought/rant in case you are someone who doesn’t know how to shut the F%& up and listen EVEN FOR A MOMENT – be self-less when a friend or whoever is talking–especially sharing.
It’s real simple. See if this sounds familiar.
Talker: “I got a new dishrag that’s really cool.”
Receiver: “I don’t really do dishrags any more. I use sponges. I remember one time when I was 14 I touched a sponge and contracted herpes. Never been the same since. Did I tell you about my trip to Portugal when I ….” 5 full minutes later ….”…so anyway, that’s how I figured out how to clean a dog with a q-tip.”
Jesus – the talker just wanted to share a little something about a new, cool dishrag, and the receiver took off on a tangent of their own from there. If you are THAT kind of receiver (not a listener but a receiver) STOP IT.
Two things I want to mention about this:
1. Every single thing shared in your direction isn’t a directive for you to try as hard as you can to justify why you do what you do, why you don’t do what you do and HOW you can apply what was just said to your situation, your world, your circumstances. MANY times a friend is simply sharing and you need to listen and think of THEM and why they are sharing what they’re sharing from THEIR perspective. It’s not all about how you can apply what was JUST said to YOUR world. Do that later or if you are asked to do it.
2. Listening should be reflective. Maybe ask the talker something about what they just said but from the perspective of the TALKER while giving even the slightest indication that what they just said was heard.
Do you just suck as a listener? I don’t know. But if you do? Pull your head out of your ass and think about the person doing the talking from time to time. It’s not all about you so stop trying to make it all about you. If you are the one bringing up a topic or you’re the one who starts a conversation because you are sharing? Fine — talk about you and then the other dude can shut the F&^* up while you talk.
If all else fails use an acronym I do. W-A-I-T
Why Am I Talking? Too polite and friendly? Fine, then tell yourself this
Shut the F^(& UP!