Over the weekend, two of my mom’s friends came over to our place for a little chit-chat over some cups of Coca-Cola. I should’ve been more concerned about how impolite it is to eavesdrop, but they spoke in a volume that showed they didn’t mind being heard, so I turned my attention to how their conversation went instead.
I noticed that none of them was able to finish what they were saying because someone would always interrupt to tell another story in relation to the story that preceded. It kind of annoyed me, partly because there’s nothing I hate more than hearing unfinished stories, but mostly because I knew that if I were the person talking, I would be offended and lose interest in the conversation.
I admit, I was once guilty of doing this in conversations until my third year in college. I first noticed it when I interrupted a very dear friend in church while she was so fervently telling us a story. Although she didn’t seem to mind, my face instantly flushed, and I was embarrassed with myself.
I wanted to break the habit, so since then I made an effort to let people talk more and let them finish before I speak. At first, it seemed to work its magic on me because a short while, I found myself having more friends than before – it seemed as if people liked hanging with me more. I told myself it was because people like being listened to more than listening to others.
I probably became too fond of the affection that it came to a point where I stopped voicing out my own thoughts entirely and just let my friends do the talking – I don’t think they ever noticed. It was sure entertaining to hear other people’s thoughts about various topics, but it also felt lonely, so eventually I started distancing myself from people again.
That’s when I realized that listening may be a very essential life skill we should have, but being listened to is a necessity that is also just as important. Listening to others can help us improve interpersonal relationships, but so can letting others hear our own voice; it can also help us improve our relationship with ourselves. It is only a matter of finding the balance between the two.