Today I want to share more of a rambling post about the act of listening. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why people speak and why people listen and how these traits differ from person to person. I’ve always been more of a listener than a talker myself. I would always read books as a child, observing the characters and their feelings, and I would start reading people in real life like that too, pulling out all this information from people without ever really having to say anything at all. I think this is where my passion for writing started – I just loved observing how the world works and creating my own version of it.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised the importance in speaking up. I used to be quiet and anxious and this is probably because I let listening become my default – it was the easier option. Now, I’m on my journey to subvert this and becomes confident in the words that I have to say, but one of the things I particularly struggle with is speaking up when I feel like no one is listening.
How many of you have been in a conversation with someone for them to then start using their phone, or diverting the discussion over to something they want to talk about instead?
I find this extremely frustrating, and it’s also kind of rude, but not only this, it knocks the other person’s confidence straight out the window. When someone isn’t listening to what I have to say I start thinking: Am I not interesting enough? Oh, I guess you have better things to do. Why do I even bother?
When it reaches this point, I feel like I might as well be invisible. This is something especially sensitive to me, since I used to feel this way a lot, but I’m sure a few of you out there can relate. It makes you feel like your efforts just aren’t worth the time.
I think the main reason this has become a problem is because of the immediacy of modern society and our want to consume information instantly. It’s as if we must look at our phones as soon as we get a notification. It completely drives us away from normal chats where you just sit and talk with someone with absolutely no distraction. I bet our friendships and relationships would be so much more happy and healthy this way, if we took the time to connect face to face with our undivided attention. I’m lucky to have a few friends and family members who do chat like this with me and I really appreciate it.
It is inevitable that we have moments when we get distracted, because society has taught us to be this way and we don’t know how to live otherwise. I have moments where I’m also not paying attention, and I feel guilty even thinking about it, but I think, due to being a listener by default, I often wish other people would listen to me as much as I listen to them. I love understanding people, giving advice and helping them, but it reaches a point when sometimes I’ve had enough of listening. It reaches a point when, I’m dedicated to having a conversation without phones or any distractions, but the other person just won’t match that, or I have something to say, but no one will listen to it for more than a minute.
It seems that in society we overlook the power of listening. I wish that listening could be taught in the same way that we are taught to speak up for ourselves (for I was always told off for not speaking at school, but never praised for listening well). After all, both talking and listening go hand in hand.
If everyone is talking, then what is the point of talking at all?
What do you think about the act of listening?
Let me know in the comments below!
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