There is a quote that I heard a long time ago that I had forgotten about, but I stumbled upon it the other day and thought it was very relatable to today.
Steven Covey says, "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."
I find this to be so incredibly true nowadays. We talk to so many people every day, and how often do we really understand what the person is saying? Now obviously if it's just a casual conversation, you don't have to look too deep into it. However, if your friend or family member, or even a stranger, is talking to you about something very serious or meaningful to them, that is the time to take a step back and really listen to what they are saying. When you are truly listening to them, you will understand them. And in fact, I think you should take the time to understand them. If you are confused about something, ask to clarify. Because when you can understand a person better, you can help them more. Have you ever gotten really crappy advice? Yeah, that's probably because that person wasn't really understanding you.
Our society is so polarized. Everyone wants to be right, no one is willing to listen to "the others" because they look down on them or think they're not informed so they're opinion must be wrong. A conversation about important issues turns into a screaming match and nobody on either side has been heard.
When we talk to others, we must listen to understand them. Do not scream at them or interrupt them. Just listen. Try to really understand what they are saying and where they are coming from. That is how a change will happen.