Sometimes Taking Is Nicer Than Giving

I was having a heated (or so I thought) discussion with a very good friend and all of a sudden he said: “you aren’t listening to what I have to say”.

At first I was angry with him. “Don’t give me this psychobabble crap” I thought. Then I wanted to get defensive and say , “of course I am listening to you”. But that was a lie .

I noticed that  when I would get ready to interrupt him I was so busy formulating what I wanted to say that I wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying anymore and he was picking up on it.

This happens a lot in conversations, especially mine, as I grew up in a boisterous New Jersey family where everyone talked over everyone and the timid got pushed by the wayside.

So I tried an experiment. I just sat and listened. I didn’t agree with everything that my friend was saying, but I gleaned a few interesting ideas AND made him happy at the same time.

On top of that, I don’t think any thing I would have said would have changed his opinion (which is often the case in heated discussion) so I actually got more out of the conversation by keeping my mouth shut than I would have if I had continued talking. I was taking his ideas and giving him happiness. Taking and giving at the same time!

What a wonderful concept.

Photo by Niclas Lindh