Food for Talk: Card 8, Are you a good listener?

11 Jan

“It is the disease of not listening that I am troubled with.” –William Shakespeare 

Are you a good listener?

Oh, this answer doesn’t make me feel great about myself. I used to think I was a GREAT listener. But now I realize the difference between being really interested in someone’s personal stories (which I am) and being a good listener (which I’m not). It’s obvious from knowing me (and reading these blogs!) that I have a lot to say. I think I’m interesting, but if you don’t…well, bite me (is that mean? That’s probably mean). But I also really enjoy talking to people and learning about their lives and how people relate to each other. I find sociology fascinating–why people do the things they do and how they interact with other people. It’s why I’m endlessly interested in people’s relationships and emotions (not unlike many women). I think I have a high degree of emotional intelligence, I’m pretty sensitive to people’s emotions, and I believe I have a small talent for being able to encourage people to talk about themselves. There has been many a time where I can get a man to chatter on endlessly just by asking him a variety of well-timed questions! It’s why I’m such a charming first date!

But while this might make me a good communicator, I don’t think it equates that I’m a good listener. I have a tendency to talk over people. It’s genetic–my mother does it (Jen can attest to this!) I want to put in my $.02, and I think what I have to say is worth listening to (even when it isn’t!) And I always want to fix problems. If you’re looking for straight sympathy for a situation you’ve gotten yourself into, I’m not always the best person to tell your story. At least I recognize my bad habits and I’m trying to improve them. With guys I tend to do the opposite and listen TOO much (and yes, this is a problem), which causes them to think they are endlessly fascinating and yet they leave the date knowing little to nothing about me. So obviously I have the listening gene, because I can listen to them, but I think think that’s more co-dependence than anything. Ha!

So the goal is to listen more. Listen better. Listen more actively, instead of just waiting for when I can chime in. It will be…very difficult. But I will try!

What do you think–are you a good listener?

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