Most people don’t listen to understand, they listen so they can respond.
Let that sink in deeply for a moment.
I would say most of us struggle with this. How do you know if you struggle with this? I think it’s really simple, if you’re having a conversation with somebody on the telephone or in person and you interrupt them that is probably a pretty good sign that you’re not listening to them. You just want to take them down your road when in fact they’re on their own Road.
Here is another example. Have you ever told a story to someone, not a long one, maybe a two- or three-minute story? A story about something that happened to you that was very impactful and the moment you finished your story, or maybe you just paused to take a breath. The person you’re talking to you immediately goes into a story about them that relates to what you were just talking about? Or better yet have you been that person? I have been that person and I have had that done to me. The proverb below speaks to this.
Proverbs 18 2. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
Try this, the next time you are having a conversation with someone, whether it be on the phone or in person. When they tell their story just focus on them. When they’re through telling their story. Just pause and smile and don’t add to it, don’t give them a story that relates to what they just told you. ask them a question, give them comfort but do not go into a story about you or something that relates to them that’s about you.
There is not a better way to show value to somebody than to listen to them. (my opinion)
Look at the proverb below, it speaks volumes.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Of course, my personal favorite is
James 1.19 this you know, my beloved Brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.