There’s a big difference between hearing and listening, believe it or not. If you spend a good deal of time with a person who tends to hear but struggles to listen, you know how frustrating it is.
Hearing, for those who have the gift, happens naturally. Noises happen around us and the ear perceives them. We know this as hearing. Listening, however, involves a more conscious act, requiring concentration so that one can process meaning from words. It could be that listening requires effort, and some people don’t like to do anything that requires an effort. When this is not applicable, why the trouble with listening?
I forget where I heard or read this line some time ago, but it pointed out a great fact: “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Some people are so busy formulating their next response or trying to get in their statement about their self, they don’t even bother to listen to what has just been said. These folks might be self-centered, “one-uppers”, or just poor listeners. If your conversations with them tend to go like this, it might be frustrating and worth it to spend less time talking to them.
Some people clearly just don’t care to listen, period. They are too busy wrapped up in their television show, their cell phone, or whatever thing they want to do. Have you ever had a full conversation with a person to have them act like it never happened later? Have you ever said something to have them quote what you said verbatim (hold on, you’ll see they weren’t listening!)? Once they’ve said their statement you say, “I literally just said that.” “Na-ahh,” they might respond to your statement. This person, clearly, wasn’t listening.
Your oxygen is too valuable. Your time is too valuable. Don’t bother wasting either if people choose not listening. Multi-tasking is not a thing, no matter how much you want to believe it is. If you don’t have their attention, stop talking. They’re not listening, despite their confirmation. Science has proven, they can’t.
If this article has described how you “listen” during the majority of your life, take note. Practice.