Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Good Listener

I need someone to talk to. Someone who will truly listen. Someone who will take each word at face value. Someone who will repeat my words back to me, so that I’ll know what I say is what they hear. 
Hmm, psychiatrists do that. 
Naa, I’m not having a mental issue at the moment.
John hears me. But, sometimes when he hears me, the words he hears are completely different than the ones that came out of my mouth. It makes us laugh. 
I have good friends—good listeners. I think so, anyway. I want to be a good listener, but I wonder—am I a good listener? I don’t think so.

This ear was photographed with my iPad
and fuzzied up in Photoshop

Sometimes I drift off—dreaming—picking up tidbits and word scraps thrown on the Piazza like stale bread to feed the pigeons. Sometimes I don’t pay careful attention. Sometimes I’m half or quarter listening because I’m busy figuring out what my response is going to be. 
Sometimes my brain is racing ahead guessing what the other person will say next. When my guess is wrong, I miss the end of the speakers thought. I’m lost in the confusion of my faulty guessing. Then I’m embarrassed to ask for a repeat, and when I do ask for a repeat, sometimes I forget to listen to the end. You really can’t ask for two repeats.
I’ve discovered that I can talk to my iPad. On the keyboard there’s a little microphone. This is so exciting. Press the little microphone symbol and it lights up. Talk. Press again when I’m done talking. Typing appears on the screen. Woohoo, I can talk and then check up on my listener. 
So here’s what I said to the iPad, “Are iPads good listeners? Or anyway, let’s see, I’d like to know the answer to that.”
Here’s what iPad heard, “Our iPads good listeners or I’m today let’s see I would like to know the answer to that.”
What I’ve learned:
  1. The iPad always spells iPad correctly.
  2. He hears no punctuation.
  3. I must talk like I have a mouth full of marbles.
I think I’ll call a friend. I’ll say “Hello,” and then I’ll listen. Really.


  1. What did you say??? I wasn't listening.

    1. Thanks, John. Anonymous? Ha. I know it's you. You never listen. But it's okay. I don't either.

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  3. Hahaha. You made me laugh out loud, all the way through. My current favorite story about my listening skills: every morning my radio goes off at 7:26. This is because the weather comes on WWJ News Radio at 7:28. (I figure I've got to have two minutes to wake up and be sure to catch the very beginning of the weather report.) I want to know what the weather is going to be so I can decide....what? What I want to wear and what I want to do that day.

    Every morning I miss the the weather report. My mind drifts off until I hear, "...and that's the weather report from WWJ News Radio. Next weather in 10 minutes, on the 8s..." Every morning this happens. Really. I miss it every single morning.

    1. Joy, you're so funny. That's not a listening problem, it's a snoozing problem.

  4. Lynn,

    I enjoyed your posting, I often times find that I am not not a good listener when I am trying to listen to another person's comments. I think how I should respond and therefore miss their last comments too. At work I force myself to listen to the physician and respond to their questions with appropriate answers, but it does take alot of focus and strength not to stray.
    Bonnie :-)

    1. Hi Bonnie,
      I've been hearing from lots of people that we aren't the only ones with this problem.
      Thanks for sharing.

  5. HUH?

    Could you say that again, please!



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