“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”
-Ernest Hemingway

I have always prided myself on being a good listener.  Too bad I was really never that good at it.  Listening is something that is hard to do; it is not the art of listening to what someone says but what they are trying to say.  Try this exercise next time that you seem to be frustrated with in the middle of a discussion with someone.  Stop after you have said something to them and ask them “What did you hear me say.”  I bet you that most of the time it will not be a verbatim version of what you say but an interpretation of what they thought the message that you were trying to convey was, what’s worse is that more often than not it will be completely different than what you were really meaning.

Marring intent and meaning onto what we are saying can be a difficult task.  One of my biggest personality flaws still is that I think I know what someone is thinking when they are talking to me.  That has lead to a lot of issues through the years because I end up being just plain paranoid about the smallest things.  I try to find intent on everything people say and that is just not a good way to do things.  Old habits die hard, or so the song says, but I have learned that I can be less paranoid and I can try to be a better listener.

One comment on “Communication

  1. I can’t count how many “issues” I’ve had with others because one of us misunderstood what the other was saying. I think you had it right when you said that you get to the point where you think you know how the other person thinks, and just assume that’s correct all of the time.

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