Friday, January 20, 2017

Were You Listening?

We chat, tweet, speak, gossip, dabate, even shout or yell, but are we really listening?
Had a nice dinner with an old friend last night and a pleasant conversation. The topics ranged from details from a worldwide trip and possible future adventures, to health and children, and even old age and death. There was a smattering of politics and a bit of laughter and no reveling or sensitive information left the evening with ideas that could continue at another time.
Yet were we really listening? Did we listen to what was said between two semi-familiar friends and ever wonder ‘why’ those subjects came to the forefront? I had two questions I knew I wanted to ask. Not sure what his agenda was for this get-together?
The same is true for any encounter with a friend or a stranger. When we get face-to-face with another and we get past pleasantries, do we really want to know what the other person thinks? Do we just want to give our views and want the other person to agree with them? If there is no consensus is there willingness to try understanding and compromise?
Being with one person for a long period of time, enough time when you can finish each other’s sentences, are we just being Pavlov’s dogs or do we still listen? Are we so unconscious to the other person that we don’t care?
Are we listening to body language? How are they holding their hands? Where are their eyes looking? What emphasis do they put on certain words? Even if we had a transcript of the words spoken, what was the take away?
After the parties separate, the mind analysis what was said. This reflection can make friends closer or form chasms. Does the listener hear what was intended?
Since we build relationship on conversations and form opinions of others only by what they tell you, isn’t it important to stop talking and listen? Maybe we should even ask to clarify statements to fully understand what the content of the message was. Enquiry could become interrogation? It is the thrush and parry of an interesting conversation stating opinions, information, references, and ideas.
Take your time and engulf yourself in a conversation like a fine wine. Enjoy the sentences, as a poem for it will build your understanding of the other person. Chose your replies wisely expecting a response or extend a thought.
What did you say? I wasn’t listening.

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