but are we even listening?

but are we even listening?

I have a bad habit of interrupting.

It’s not a trait I’m proud of. I realise it’s rude and disrespectful. It’s also incredibly annoying.

Some habits are formed so early that by the time you notice them in yourself, it’s too late, they’re already hard and fast rules of your makeup. Example: my use of the word like.

I grew up in Southern California in the 80’s. We were all Valley Girls.

Like, totally rad, gag me with a spoon, I’m so sure.

The other phrases of those years left my vocabulary long ago, (though I’m on a mission to bring back Rad!) but like stayed. To this day I can barely speak a full sentence without a like creeping in. (Unless I’m speaking in a British accent – as I am wont to do – blame it on whimsy.)

Breaking habits is hard.

I try to be ultra-conscious about interrupting; pause… allow the person I’m speaking with to finish their thought… then reply. It doesn’t always work. Occasionally, (i.e. more often than not,) I will throw out a response like a wayward pitch. That thing goes flying! Totally out of control.

In my opinion, a good conversation should be full of give and take. A few interruptions here and there, a couple of train-derailing tangents, and then the whole thing comes back around full circle. It’s imperfect. So many of the most wonderful things are.

I’m okay with imperfect.

But lately, I’ve been noticing, I mean really paying attention to, how much people talk over each other.

Its not just interrupting. It’s actually over, around and through. As though there is only one person invited to the conversation.

I do not care to be a prop. Where is the give and take in this?

I’m not talking about a venting session, if someone needs to scream, or cry it out, and I am the sounding board they choose for this, I am happy to be that person.

However, if I’m asked a question and just a few words into my response I’ve already been interrupted and moved on to the next question or statement… all this indicates to me is that my reply is unimportant. The result is that I’m probably going to shut down, stop listening, and glaze over. delete. reboot. next.

If we’re constantly interrupting, we can’t possibly be listening.

And listening is… so very… important.

I’m working on this bad habit of mine.

I will always work to respect the conversation. I strive to share my words and not command the time spent within the circle of give and take. But if I do not receive the same consideration, expect that I will totally tune out.

and that’s just not, like, totally rad.

I’m so sure.

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