This I Believe

Carolyn - wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Just Listening

“Carolyn, you need to talk more.” I heard for what seemed the millionth time. For as long as I can remember, I have maintained a quiet disposition, and for whatever reason this bothers some people. Instead of jumping into the conversation, ready to assert my opinion, I simply listen to what everyone else says. It is not that I never talk, I just listen more than I speak, and do not see the need to talk constantly. Not because I have no one to talk to; I have plenty of friends who would listen if I wanted to talk and because I am usually the one to listen, whenever I do decide to talk people generally listen. I believe in listening.

Listening gives me that chance to hear other’s opinions and then decide for myself if I believe they are true. It also allows me to better study people and circumstances, because I am not concerned with what I want to say next, or how I am going to make people to listen. Frequently people come to me when they need to talk because they know I will listen, really, truly listen, to what they are saying and never tell anyone else. Although I believe in listening, there is a time when it is appropriate to talk. Oftentimes I find my self explaining a misunderstanding between people. My observations of situations also helps because I can usually assist people in understanding why people act the way they do and how they respond. Teachers also appreciate my ability to listen, and it helps me immensely when trying to learn. My parents know that when they tell me to do something, I am listening so there is no miscommunication. Because of this and most of the time I do what they ask, they trust me and give me more freedom.

When I do not understand what the subject of the conversation is or what is going on, I just listen and then piece together what they are referring to or what is happening. If I still cannot figure out topic in question or what is happening, then I ask, but I avoid saying or feeling stupid because the answer was obvious and I could have known if I maintained my silence and listened. This can also be useful if there is a word I cannot identify the meaning; by listening I can usually guess the meaning from context, which also saves me from feeling foolish if everyone else knows the meaning, or if it is exceedingly apparent.

Listening instead of talking may seem foreign to many people, but it improved my life immensely. I think everyone should try to listen a little bit more. It is painless and easy, with huge rewards. We cannot hear good ideas when everyone is trying to be heard and no one will listen.