Proverbs 18 vs 13 says, ‘To answer before listening —  that is folly and shame.’

Whoops, my hand is up. Is anyone else’s hand up? This is not a great start.

One way in which you can definitively show Love to someone is by listening without interrupting them. And i do confess that i do this way too much. Well the opposite of this, the interrupting part. Maybe i get half points for listening AND interrupting, but it doesn’t feel any better.

i remember a friend i had back in Cape Town, who while she was listening to you would say “Yes!” and nod her head in agreement or I’mwithyoument often during the conversation. Sounds like a really helpful, positive thing, excepting that she would always say “Yes!” too early.

“But wait, i haven’t actually said anything. You just yessed my buildup and you didn’t even give me a chance to”Yes!”

Ooh, it used to make me so frustrated, because not only was it a sign that she was not listening all that intently, or seeming to care about what i was saying, but it was a strong sign that she was not listening while still going through the motions of pretending to listen. i eventually started avoiding talking to her much, because it always felt so inauthentic.

THE EXCITEABLE INTERRUPTION

whereas, this has been far more my experience and it completely also demonstrates a lack of Love, even though it feels like a positive thing in itself because i generally do listen quite well to people, but often get so excited about what they are saying and this point that i have to add to the conversation that i excitedly interrupt them so i can say what i want to say. and while this may feel more noble than the previous one [after all, we tend to think our brokenness always smells sweeter than our neighbors] what i am subtly suggesting is that “what i have to say is more important than what you have to say” which apart from for the most part being completely untrue, is just plain rude.

i do it because i get excited, and i think i also do it sometimes because i have a bad memory in some areas and am worried that i will forget my point and the sooner i get it out the better for us all [because it is going to be THAT good of a point? riiiight.] but both ways are still acted out in rudeness.

when i take time to really listen to you, and listen in an engaged manner [by “Yes”ing at the right times, by noddng at points I agree with, by giving affirmation ir showing empathy where there is a gap] then i demonstrate to you, quite powerfully, that i Love you. the good kind of Love.

QUESTION FIRST, ANSWER FOLLOWS

sometimes while someone is speaking, i catch myself working on my answer or response to what they are saying when they are halfway through saying something, which can also be a sign of not listening. which again, is not an indication of great Love.

when i listen to you without interrupting, without giving off verbal or non-verbal indications that anything or everything else is more important than what you are saying to me right now, when i wait until you have finished before i respond or even start constructing my response, then i will truly be showing you that i have Love and respect and appreciation for you and what you have risked saying to or sharing with me.

may we become better at Love as we embrace this idea and start to see it more at work in our lives

can anyone relate?

[to see the next point on speaking without accusing, click here]

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