Have you ever met that person? The person who doesn't really hear anything you say, but only uses your words as an opportunity to say something about themselves. Something competitive.
I firmly believe in the New Age theory that the traits we find most annoying in others are things we do ourselves and don't realize or do ourselves and really, really dislike. I'm sorry, were you thinking something? Something else? Can we please try to stay focused on me here?
So when I recently spent a day with a person like the one above, it made me wonder, am I really, really listening to others? Maybe not so well. And I know when my kids come into the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner and talking on the phone with my husband to find out just how late he'll be today, I'm so distracted they could ask me for the keys to the car and I might just say "yes," even though none of them is even old enough for a driver's permit.
Once I did an exercise where, for two weeks, I was required to listen, really listen to others when they talked, to not use the time they were speaking to formulate what I would say next. I don't know where I read about this, or if it was part of one of my New Age ("Woo Hoo," says the husband) classes, but it was really quite enlightening. And much much easier than the exercise where I wasn't allowed to give anyone advice for two weeks.
Perhaps we're all a little guilty of not listening to others as intently as we should. This is probably due in part to the fact that some people just aren't interesting, which makes me wish I had my husband's skill of being able to read the paper or work on the computer while I'm talking. When he appears to not be listening, sometimes I'll say, just to check, "So I kissed him," to which he'll reply without hesitation, "Oh, you did not."
It reminds me of a T-shirt I used to have from a bar in Tucson called Bob Dobbs. It said, "I drink to make other people interesting. Bob, realization 1973." (This is actually a paraphrase of a WC Fields quote) I wish I'd had that T-shirt when I spent the day with my verbose "friend" who took every word I'd said and used it as an opportunity to one-up me. Actually, I would have just settled for a drink. Maybe two.
You've been so patient reading and listening to my rant, so enough about me. What do you think of me? (That line just never gets old.) Well, acitymom hereby pledges to not become that person by becoming a better listener. But if you're out and about some night around dinnertime and you see a twelve-year-old girl driving a '99 Camry, you'll know exactly what happened.