I was listening, it’s just that…..

You know when you are having a conversation or reading something and you hit something… and your mind starts to go a mile a minute?

All of a sudden you find yourself thinking of how you would respond. Why you disagree. Why you agree. Why that story relates to your life. What you think.

If you are having a in-person conversation, you start thinking of the next thing you want to say. If you are having an online conversation, you continue to scan what you are reading, but your mind has already gone to that comment box. You start to plan the words in your head.

This happens to me. I suspect it might happen to you.

I was thinking about this the other day and realizing how much it can hamper understanding. Because once I go to this place in my brain, really, I am not longer listening or understanding or absorbing the other perspective. My brain have left the building, so to speak, and I have taken the conversation off course.

I notice this happening online. A LOT. So I assume I am not the only one who does this. People responding in a particular way to a post, or tweet or comment. People responding passionately. People responding will good, clear, interesting perspectives. But seem to be totally missing the point of what the original author was saying. I am sure I have done this. Lots.

We all have our own conversation triggers. Those pet peeves; issues near and dear to our hearts, painful memories, points of great pride, goals for the future. And so off we go. Off.

Communication is difficult, isn’t? To really hear someone we have to be really listening. This is so easier said then done. We see the world through our own lens. We make assumptions. We take cognitive leaps to fill in any blanks. We tune out things we don’t want to hear. Ignore points we don’t want to recognize.

Interesting, isn’t it? It’s a wonder we ever understand each other. 😉

What do you think?

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3 responses to “I was listening, it’s just that…..

  1. Ginger November 26, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I used to do this all the time in real life conversations, until my husband and I had a big discussion about it (he did it too) and I became very aware of it. Now I try super, super hard to make sure that in person I’m IN the conversation, not just formulating answers in my head.

    But online I know I’m not as diligent–and you would think it would be easier, since online you have the ability to stop, go back and *actually* revisit the writer’s original words before chiming in.

    • amoment2think November 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm

      Yeah, it is something I have to actively think about in order to avoid. I try, oh how I try. But sometimes I just can’t help it.

      • Lisa Sunbury November 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

        Kathleen, I replied on facebook! Love your page there! But Ginger, it’s interesting to me that you find it harder to “listen” on-line than in person. For me it’s just the opposite. Not that I don’t get all hot and bothered about certain issues, but I can walk away, rant to myself, then come back, and respond more calmly, or skip it all together if it’s just too hard to be civil. In-person, it’s sometimes harder for me to be as calm. Around hot button topics, I often have to remind myself that it won’t hurt me just to listen, listening doesn’t mean I agree, and if I can be respectful enough to at least try to hear the other person’s point of view and refrain from reacting, I have a better chance of being heard when I do respond.

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