I recently read the greatest quote that said “Listen to understand. Not to say something back in return.”
This is so true. If only more people had the ability to really listen.
This is especially true in dating. I can’t tell you how many dates I’ve been on throughout my life when the man asked me nothing about myself the entire night. There were a couple men I gave second chances to because they seemed like good guys, and I know that people can be nervous on first dates, but when absolutely nothing changed on the second date, there was most certainly not a third.
There are a few dates in particular that come to mind when the men hardly took a breath the whole time and I just sat and listened. Some went on and on about their remodeling projects at home. One went on a tangent about his former wresting career and all the gory details that went along with that. Great dinner conversation! Another went on about once being bitten by a rattlesnake and how his ex wife had left him for a woman. I wonder why!
On all these dates, they didn’t ask a single thing about me the whole night and if I started talking about myself, they quickly turned the conversation back around to them. When you’re on the first date or two, don’t you want to learn about the other person?
Last year, I worked briefly with a girl who never stopped talking from the time her shift started until it was time to go home. She had not yet learned “The art of listening.” Whenever I would start to say something, she would quickly interrupt and the conversation would become all about her. The couple times I worked with her, I learned every detail of her life story from her dysfunctional family and how she grew up an army brat and has lived all over the world to the deadbeat father of her child. At one point she even asked me how many tattoos I have! Then she revealed she has six tattoos and started showing them to our customers! It made me wonder, Why do so many people feel the need to spill every detail of their lives within a few hours of meeting somebody?
The truth is, we’re all wanting a little attention, whether we admit it or not. Every one of us need to know that we matter, that our lives matter. We get hurt when we’re ignored. Either when someone shuts us out of their lives or ignores us when we’re speaking. We’re all just wanting people to acknowledge that we exist.
A number of years ago, I had a female friend badmouth me to a mutual friend I was working with at the time. She went so far as to write this scathing email to him, telling him how I was not to be trusted. He forwarded me her email and I was hurt. This was someone who I thought I was good friends with. I’m the one who remembered her birthday when her own sister had forgotten and she had gone out of her way to try to hurt a relationship I had worked hard to build. When I confronted her about it and asked why did she it, do you know what her answer was? She was hurt that she hadn’t heard from me in so long. Crazy what we do sometimes when we want someones attention. When we want someone to listen and remember that we’re still here.
It’s fine to talk about ourselves, but lets try to listen too. We’re all crying out to be heard. Some more so than others. Sometimes we need a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes we just need to get something off our chest. We’re usually not looking for advice, unless we ask you for it.
All any of us want is at least one person to listen. Even if it’s just once in awhile.