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The Lost Art Of Listening

Updated on July 29, 2010


Before you finish your sentence, in my mind I’ve all ready finished it for you and I’ve moved on to either the conclusion of that conversation or perhaps even a new topic of conversation all together. I admit it, I’m a “nodder” when you’re talking to me. I’m smiling and I’m nodding and then more times than I care to remember when I walk away I have no idea what you just said to me. I could have been thinking about how many calories are in a salad that is supposed to be healthy for you but if you want any dressing on it you’re asking for trouble and may as well have had that burger that you were trying to stay away from because you were trying to eat “healthy” all the while I just agreed with you to wash your dog and take your kids to an amusement park all of which I have no intention of doing and will have no recollection of when you “surprise” me with the news that I agreed to do either of these things the day before they’re supposed to happen. The lost art of listening – Don’t Get Me Started!

I’m not sure when listening became so difficult for me. I was a fairly decent student and as I’m a habitual rule follower I’m sure I used to listen a lot but as time moves on and I get older, I find myself bored with whatever anyone has to say within the first seconds. I know, it’s bad, why do you think I’m writing about it?  I guess I just want people to do what I always tell my mother. When my mother tells a story you have to hear every inch of it and every second of “Well then he said” “and then I said” “but your father was sitting there and he said” it all gets too much for me until finally I move my hands in a gesture that looks like a referee calling traveling in basketball begging her to “sum up” the story, something I eventually scream to her, “SUM UP!” Meanwhile I’ve taken in nothing she has said at all because I have been thinking to myself, “Is it too soon to scream sum up? Make the traveling gesture to try and speed things along? What is she talking about? Oh God, now she’s gone off on a tangent, I’m going to scream SUM UP at any moment, I can feel it starting to rise in my throat like that bad piece of fruit I ate earlier. Do you think it was bad? Can you get food poisoning from bad fruit? What is she saying now? Oh I give up. SUM UP!!!!” So you can understand that while I may have a look on my face of total comprehension as to what is being said or discussed, I know not one thing she has said.

Look, I know this isn’t good but listening I find is really hard. I don’t know if I have what I’ve always suspected, SAS (Short Attention Span) or what but more and more I find myself shocked at just how much I’m not taking in. Maybe my mind is just too full of really important stuff. Yeah, right. Anyone who reads this blog knows that the only claim to fame I have is that I know every lyric to Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band. That will surely help me on Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader! No, I a-feared I just have lost the will and way to listen.

It doesn’t just happen with friends, it happens at work and in social settings just about the same. I find myself being introduced to someone and I even say their name back, “Hi John, very nice to meet you.” But then I start looking at the hem of their pants that has one pant leg longer than the other and the fact that they have obviously haven’t bought a tie in fourteen years and by the time I leave them, they could hold a gun to my head and I wouldn’t be able to tell you the person’s name.

I’m warning all of you right now. If you think you may have a crime happen to you, you do NOT want me as the eye witness. Not only will I not remember if they car was blue or green, I’ll contradict myself on who said what to whom and being obsessed with my own weight and height, I’ll have no idea what the attacker looked like at all because almost everyone just looks taller and in better shape than me.

On the whole I’m a good person. I try and go through life making people smile and interacting in a way that makes people feel good about being around me. But the more I’m on this planet the more I feel certain basic skills slipping away and listening is one of them. Don’t ask me what I just watched on television or even saw out on the street because these seem like some sort of ether that enter me, numb my mind for a moment and then waft on to their next subject without leaving a trace. So the next time if you’re talking to me and I look like I’m getting it, be suspicious. On the other hand, if I look like I’m constipated or my eyes are searing through you as if they’re trying to put you in a trance, then I just might be trying to really take in what you’re saying. You just never know and that’s what makes me so much fun to be around. (execute eye rolling) The lost art of listening – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks EA - Have a great weekend!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 7 years ago

      Happy Happy Friday to you Great Scott!!

      Another Home Run!! GREAT Hub!! All 'thumbs up' from me!!

      Blessings, EarthAngel!!

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      Thanks Ladies, good to know I'm not alone on this one!

    • KKalmes profile image

      KKalmes 7 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Hello SLIscott, I laughed out loud... thank you! As hard as I try to remember the new person's name give me one slight interruption in my train of thought or tidbit of information required to get me from here to there and my eyes glaze over.

      I have taken to apologizing, or begging forgiveness for not being able to pronounce their name correctly (which only works on very rare occassions) and the worst part is when introducing the newcomer to an old friend or my sons, or family I forget their name as well... names are like a brain freeze waiting to happen.

      You are an extremely talented writer, funny and familiarly anecdotal... I love stopping by... thumps up and awesome because we don't have an excellent rating.

    • gqgirl profile image

      Sabrae 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hey at least you have the look on your face that you are actually listening to the other person. LOL When I'm at work I'm in total listening mode. But the minute I come home in the morning my brain shuts down. I'll be perfectly aware of the fact that my poor fiancee is standing in the door way talking to me about something I'm sure he deems important but I'll not hear a word of it and be typing away on the computer or something else. And it's not just him I do it to. It seems like the minute I clock out at work my entire brain just shuts down. I even do it to my bosses and friends. :) So you are not alone and it's not a sign of old age because I'm 27. It's just that we probably don't really deem it that important to listen to! :)