Then I asked her “so why do you like me?”
Without flinching, she replied “Because you are a good listener. You listen to me when I talk. Whether I am making sense or not, you listen. I like that about you.”
Growing up, I was the kid you could term “friendly”. I was all over the place. Seldomly had arguments. Fought maybe once or twice in my whole life. I was good with the guys because I was a guy’s guy (played football and reasonably good at sports, watched football, liked girls and all). I was also good with girls because I was a girl’s guy (cute, tall, funny, smart and friendly).
In all my friendliness and seemingly good attributes, I was still as single as the number 1. How do I get myself out of this quagmire? How do I get a girlfriend? How do I get a girl to kiss me? A few of the questions that plaqued the mind of a 15 year old boy.
It’s been over a dozen years since but I overcame my worries, insecurities and shortcomings about girls by doing something that most men fail to do.
So back to the lady at the beginning of this piece. She had the opportunity of saying “I like you because you are tall and cute” or “I like you because you are funny and smart”. She might have even decided to state my prowess in bed or the small money I claimed to have but she went for the less obvious choice of “a good listener”.
I always thought listening was an easy thing to do. Everyone has attended lectures where they are bound to listen to their lecturer. Eveyone attends church/mosque where they are encouraged to listen to their spiritual leader. Everyone watches movies where they are bound to listen to the movie characters. So listening shouldn’t be a big deal. Should it?
If only men listen more to their women, we wouldn’t have so many issues in relationships.
If only parents listened more to their children, many kids wouldn’t be violated by ignominious fellows.
If only bosses listened more to their employees, you would have a happier and more hardworking workforce.
If only leaders listened more to their followers, you would have a better and more fulfilled country.
If only husbands listened more to their wives, women wouldn’t be led to cheat on their husbands.
If only Even listened to Adam, the serpent wouldn’t have convinced her to eat the damn apple.
If only most girls listen to their heads and ignored their brains, heartbreaks wouldn’t be a regular feature.
If only men listened to their conscience instead of their penis, so much infidelity would be avoided.
If only many couples listened to themselves more often, divorce and separation rates would nose dive.
I could go on and on but my point has been made. Listen more in your relationships and even in the general affairs of life. It takes courage to stand up and talk. It also takes courage to shut up and listen attentively.
Don’t just listen to reply. Listen to understand. The Bible strongly admonished in Proverbs 18:13 that “to answer without listening is foolishness and shame”. Verse 14 of the same chapter said “the ears of the wise seek knowledge”. It didn’t say the mouth of the wise, it said the ears of the wise. Quoting James 1:19 “..let every man be swift to hear and slow to speak”. As Greek philosopher Epictetus once theorized, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
To be a good listener, remember to:
1. Listen attentively
2. Focus on the speaker
3. Maintain eye contact
4. Don’t be distracted by your phone
5. Show you are listening by giving a nod or making a “hmmm, really?, huh?, are you serious?” sound while the speaker is talking.
6. Don’t interrupt the speaker.
7. Begin your response with a question if need be.
8. Don’t pass judgement.
9. Be open minded
10. Empathize with the speaker.
Always speak once, think twice and listen thrice and remember that your ears will never put you in trouble; it is always your mouth that does.