Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
— Stephen R. Covey
Over the holidays, I posted a picture on Facebook of my dad reading love letters he and mom exchanged before they were married fifty-seven years ago. As dad read them aloud, we smiled, we laughed, and of course we shared more than a few “awwwww” moments. It truly was the best part of Christmas.
I forgot I shared the picture on Facebook until a few days after Christmas when my co-worker, Angela brought it up.
She pulled up an empty chair next to my desk, sat down, looked straight into my eyes and said, “Okay, tell me about your dad and the letters.” For the next ten minutes I went on and on about my parents, the sweet letters, and everything else about my Christmas. After listening, laughing and having a few of her own “awwwww” moments, she got up, tucked the empty chair under the desk and began walking away. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I hadn’t asked her a single question about her Christmas. I got her back by asking, “Hey! Did you stay in town over Christmas?”
I must get better at this. WE must get better at this.
You know the number one thing people want is to be noticed and heard. Especially now, in the age of staring at our screens, putting in ear buds and shutting out the world. How can we love well if we don’t give people a sliver of our time? I’m not sure you’ve noticed, but the human race is not doing very well. We’re angry, we’re depressed, and we’re addicted. And in the middle of all of this lost hope there you are with a chance.
Be Angela. Pull up an empty chair. Look straight into someone’s eye and say, “Okay, tell me…”