Lost art of Listening

I hate confrontations. As an introvert, sometimes even basic interactions can be difficult. There’s a lot of noise out there. Chit chat is a real struggle.

Lately, I have noticed just how little people listen. Arguments where both people refuse to stop and let the other finish their thought. As if talking louder, and longer, and being able to complete your sentence over the top of the other somehow makes you more right, or more heard, or unbelievably, means you “win”.

But that’s not the case. When you talk over someone else, you’re simply disrespecting them. They’re talking – they’re not listening to you. Being louder and more abrasive doesn’t make you better. Interrupting them doesn’t help them learn or open their mind to you. It very likely doesn’t make your point clearer either.

I understand. When I’m hearing something that I disagree with, my immediate instinct is to yell “No, no, no!” but I’m learning that I can go a long way if I only show light visible signs of disagreement, but let the person talking complete their thought. Who knows? Maybe if they finish their sentence, and I actually listen to it, they’ll share their reasoning that will change my mind. And if it doesn’t, then at least I have a better idea of where I can start to focus my argument.

It’s so rare to find genuine listeners. It takes practice and awareness. I have a social engagement later today, perfect time to practice listening. And if no one is talking, silence really is ok.