The Art of Half-Listening

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

Many years ago, I remembered the day my son told me I wasn’t a good listener. Huh? Me? Are you serious? I thought, as I zoned out and just saw his mouth moving.

He’ll tell me I would jump in on his sentences, saving him from actually finishing them.
He wasn’t the only one who told me that.

I admit it. I used to be quite bad at listening when other people spoke. I sometimes zoned out. I got distracted, or I was thinking about the next thing I was going to say before they were done talking. Not very helpful. So I had to change…and I did.

• Hey, anyone will tune out when someone is droning on and on and on, so I learned to interrupt in a gracious but effective way. Grab onto something that they’ve said, and jump off from that. That way it’s clear I heard them, and it feels like the conversation is transitioning naturally.

• Looking everywhere except at the person talking can make it seem like I was not listening, and then the conversation suffers. So I tend to keep eye-contact with the person. Not in an uncomfortable way, of course.

The hardest part was trying not to do things while others talked.

My son called me the other night, and in that instant, I turned off the computer to talk with him.

During our conversation, he asked me:

“Mom, are you still there”?
“Yes, I’m here”.
“I thought you weren’t there”.
“I’m still here”
“There’s silence on your end”.
“It’s because I’m listening to you”.🤦🏻‍♀️

33 thoughts on “The Art of Half-Listening

  1. It’s a beautiful post, though a bit uncomfortable to read as I certainly recognize myself in the instant replier part, not the good listener one. I’m glad to know that this can be trained, too, as many other things. And I love the ending of your conversation. Your son seems to be very tuned into other people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He surely is tuned in. Funny thing, he called me this morning and before he began to share his story he said Mom I just want you to listen. He hasn’t said that since the post- I guess it was a friendly reminder. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How true isn’t it? Jumping in to finish someone’s sentence… that rings a bell! I came from a very interruptive family and community; later moved to the Midwest where interrupting is very frowned upon! Huge learning curve!!

    Peace, Tamara
    http://Www.tamarakulish.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree. Like when we listen we tend to worry about the things we have to say although our intent is to listen and be a good listener to make the person feel we’re listening but ended up not 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The way you used to listen to your son is the way I used to be listened to by my wife. Utterly maddening! I must have told her hundreds of times to stop interrupting and changing the subject. I don’t know when she stopped doing that, but it has been such a blessing. I find I have much less to say, being on the other end. I can say things simply, knowing that it will be comprehended as I say it. Your son may have some adjusting too, but when he realizes you’re actually engaged now, it will be revolutionary.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ohhh I feel you alright. 😂 My husband would always tell me to listen and I’d tell him I’m listening while trying to amuse our baby.
    My children keeps on asking for direct and focused listening from me. They ask me to look at them and not hold anything. So demanding, these people around us. Hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A great piece, quite thought-provoking. It makes me think of the negative feedback I received from my children, especially the boys. My mind has a tendency to wander when I’m listening to them, this has disappointed and upset them numerous times. Truly something I need to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. yes!! very good!!

    On Sat, Mar 17, 2018 at 10:13 PM, WordPress.com wrote:

    > SpiritualJourney17 posted: ““Most people do not listen with the intent to > understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~ Stephen R. Covey Many > years ago, I remembered the day my son told me I wasn’t a good listener. > Huh? Me? Are you serious? I thought, as I zoned out and just” >

    Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s