You're listening to someone tell a story. It's a great story, so full of detail about their most recent encounter with the cutest puppy that they have ever seen. They go on and on about the puppy and their day, and the series of events that led them to that exact moment. However, the second they mention 'puppy', your mind tunes out. You remember a story related to theirs in which YOU had the same encounter with an even CUTER puppy! So, when they finish their story, you are finally able to let it all out and grace them with the ability to listen to your encounter also.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. And we all do it. It's just that this is called listening to win, and it is the opposite of listening to understand.
I learned about this concept today at a conference held for orientation leaders. More often than not, we listen to others talk and somehow, one way or another, end up making the conversation about ourselves. Yet, through a conscious effort, we will be able to talk to people on a deeper level. If we listen intently to our friends, family, strangers, etc. while speaking to them, then we will be able to connect to them more. We will be able to learn more and feel the depth of human connection more as well. When we listen with genuine curiosity, we are able to show others that we care and that we truly are interested in what they have to say.
Start to ask deeper questions. Don't just ask someone how their day was with the sole purpose of wanting them to ask you about your day in return. Ask them how their day was, but dig deeper. Go the extra mile when forming deep connections and reaching out to others.