Thursday, January 23, 2014

Let them talk...

Let them talk…and by that I mean really let the other person finish his sentence. Nothing is more annoying than being interrupted mid-sentence or in the middle of one's train of thought. When my husband and I have an argument, I get angrier when he interrupts me than I was about the original disagreement. Of course, he realized that and now we argue in a very civilized manner ;)

Jokes aside, I think listening is a skill; some people are naturally good listeners while others need to learn to hold their horses, come out of their self-absorbed sponges and learn to listen to the other person.   We are all eager to put in our two (mostly twenty) cents in but let's learn to be more patient. There are a lot of lonely people out there who sometimes just want to share their emotions;  they are not always expecting a solution from you to their problems, they are not always seeking advice and they are not always seeking reassurance. They just want to shoot the breeze with another human being.

I am a big talker; I'd strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere and talk about almost anything. When I was younger the conversation would end my being about, well, me. I was open and frank and shared my world views and my plans for the future and sometimes I would seek the listeners' support/approval. At that time, that was my idea of an enjoyable conversation. Showing everyone how  sorted I was (or at least I thought I was) and how I had things figured out at such a young age. I guess when you are a teenager some degree of one's self-absorption can be forgiven. Today, I can admit that because I look back and see that I could have spent some time listening as well. I'm glad I learned that with age.

My husband now jokingly asks me what I know about someone whenever he sees me talking to someone at a random place. For example, once we finished our ice-cream at a Carvel in Atlanta and my husband went to the car to buckle up our toddler son to his car seat while I went to pay the lady at the cash register. I noticed that she had a north-eastern accent so I asked her where she was from. That question and my appearance of genuinely listening to her response was all that it took for her to give me details of her life over the last five years. She told me how her and her husband lost their jobs and decided to move to the south to start a business but things were not going well. She then went on to tell me how her mother-in-law got very sick and they had to buy last minute expensive plane tickets to go see her before she passed away. To make matters worse, her husband cracked his tooth on some nuts from a condolence basket that somebody had sent to him and now she had a staggering dental bill….there's more to her story but the point of narrating it here is that sometimes people are lonely and all they want is an ear that seems interested.

I have to admit that I encourage people to talk to me. I ask them prodding questions. I think communicating is the best way of connecting with people. We are all rushed for time but sometimes giving five minutes of your day to be caring to someone won't put you behind on your dead line (yes, only five- I was done listening to the Carvel lady and wished her luck in that time.) 

So when you engage in a conversation, listen and hear the person out - it may actually make you grateful for the life you have.

Here's an interesting article on people who talk too much. Todays' recipe is from the www.frugal that you can make while listening to your family member or friend talk about their day :)

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