Do you want to know a secret, do da do,
Do you promise not to tell
She took another sip of her drink and smiled pleasantly at her friend. She felt her eyes beginning to cross and she took a quick look around the room. The friend kept talking. She replied with an 'uh huh' and the friend kept talking, and talking, and talking…
People seem to fall into two categories; the talkers and the listeners. I’m a listener. I talk too, of course, but usually I listen. I don’t know how it came about that I’d be the designated listener. But I am. I’m the one people come to at the store to ask which row the sugar is on then proceed to tell that there was a death in the family and they are making a cake. I’m the one the little kid comes to when he can’t find his mother and while we look he tells me what happened at school today. I’m the one who listens to the sad story or the happy story. I listen to people talk even when I don’t want to. I sometimes wonder why people want to tell me things. I don’t ask. But they tell me anyway.
I’ve wondered if being a listener is hereditary. I don’t really think so but I remember people approaching my Mamaw, my maternal grandma, and asking her questions then telling her things like they do me. It also happens to my mother. People come up to ask directions or tell her something they feel is important.
Part of being a listener comes from not saying much. I come from a family who doesn’t say much. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to be said. It’s just not said. When my mom and dad would have a disagreement there was no yelling and screaming. There was dead silence. That’s what we were raised with and it transferred to all of us to some extent.
Unless you have some kind of disability you can hear. But not everyone can listen. It is hard to be an interested or active listener. Active listening means giving your full attention to the person who is talking. You let the other person know that you are listening to what is being said by looking at them. You acknowledge what they say with a nod of the head or by making a comment every so often. Body language also lets people know whether you are really listening…or not!
My Mamaw used to tell me to let her get her glasses on so she could hear me. She looked at me and listened to what I had to say. I knew she was interested. Listening is a skill as well as a courtesy. As with any skill the more you practice the more you will improve. Becoming a better listener will increase communication over all.
I once had a principal who stifled a yawn when you were speaking to him. He would yawn with his mouth closed, but it was obvious. I always felt sure that I was boring him to death. I was glad to hear that he did it to everyone and didn’t just single me out! Another boss I had wouldn’t look at me when I spoke to him. He looked to the side or on his desk. He acknowledged but he never made eye contact. I never was sure that he understood what I was telling him.
It can be hard to pay attention to what someone is saying if there’s no interest or if what the person says is always negative. It’s also hard to listen when someone harps on something that isn’t true. Slender people constantly saying how fat they are for instance, makes listening to anything else they have to say difficult.
It’s been said that you remember 20 - 30% of what you hear. If that’s the case, when you talk to someone for 10 minutes, they may only actually remember 2½ to 3 minutes of what you are saying. It works the other way as well. When someone is telling you something and you only remember 20 - 30% of their message, you can only hope it will be the important parts you hear and remember!
Being the listener isn’t all bad. You learn a lot about people. You learn a lot about things. I’ll continue to be a listener. One day, maybe, I’ll find someone who will want to listen to me!
I’m almost to the end of spring for my knitayear. Day 87 was an okay day. It was Saturday and I was content to do what I wanted at my own pace. It rained on and off and I chose a variegated blue and rust colored yarn. It reminds me of how the sky looks against the ground after it rains out here. There is a lot of red clay and the rust color reminds me of that. Day 88, June 27, was another rainy day. Since it rained all day it was a day of rest. Again, I did some things I needed to get done but at my own pace. I was tired and needed the rest. I chose a light blue/gray yarn with white spots in it. It is a restful color and reminded me of the sky with the rain coming down. Day 89 brought Monday. I spent the day in training. I really had other things I needed to get done but I’m glad I went to the session. I was content to learn some new things that may be beneficial in the long run. It was a good thing I rested yesterday because I was exhausted today. I chose a ribbon yarn, off white, light green and pale blue with gold sections every so often. The colors were pale, like my energy but the gold spots reminded me going through the day was worth it. Day 90 brought still more rain. We will have all the rain for the year in this one week! With rain comes rainbows and I saw a great rainbow on the way home from work. I’m thankful for the rain and for the rainbows. I chose a variegated rainbow fun fur to add to the knitayear. Day 91, the last day of the spring section, was an awful day. It began with bad news and continued to get worse. I was betrayed and don’t know who to trust. I got about four different stories as to the reason. I had to take my office ‘wall’ down and didn’t get a valid reason. Doesn’t foster collaboration, interferes with the air conditioning, interferes with cleaning, blah blah blah. I moved my wall but a transparent wall was built in its place. And it’s not coming down. I chose a black and white yarn with spots of red and orange in it. It was a black day. The white was rain. The red was what I’m still seeing. In the meantime I’ll keep listening. Maybe I’ll hear the real reason some day.
Listen, let me whisper in your ear
Say the words you want to hear…