Shut Up And Listen
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Shut Up And Listen

We are all guilty of something called Making-It-About-You.

18
Shut Up And Listen
Life Hack

We’ve all had it happen. You’re in the middle of a story, perhaps telling an audience of four or five people. Abruptly after you finish (or perhaps you were even cut-off), someone else launches enthusiastically into a personal experience of their own. No one asks questions about yours or even responds, and soon it’s a story-sharing party, like, “Hand me the mic, I’m next!” This normally turns into a lot of talking over one another, voices rising unintentionally. Occasionally, there’s the awkward run-in when two people begin at the same time and have to stutter, “Oh, no, you can go…”

There’s also my personal favorite, the multiple-attempt (or fade-off) sort of approach. You know, when you notice somebody try to join in, but get interrupted countless times, so they just sit back in defeat. Eventually, a bunch of of side conversations erupt, because no one's really listening as a whole anymore; you have to zoom in on one individual that’s actually going to let you finish.

Annoying, right? What about when you were on the other end of it? Even if you are an absolute saint, you are most-likely guilty of Making-It-About-You, too. If you’re now scoffing at your screen and shrugging your shoulders in denial, recall if there was ever a time that you listened to a conversation and knew you could contribute. Instead of genuinely listening, absorbing what is being said, you were planning in your own mind how to present your narrative. Before they can barely finish their last sentence, you’ve already cleared your throat to recite yours.

Hey, it’s OK. Seriously. Everybody does it. But the issue is, it’s so easy to get lost in our own two cents that we get distracted from the people we are engaging with. It may be harmless sitting around in a room full of people comparing childhood stories, everyone speaking over one another, but what about other situations? Say a friend has a rough encounter with their boss at work, and calls you to vent. How easy is it to immediately respond that you once had an employer you clashed with, too, and then provide advice about what you did or didn’t do during that experience? It may feel like you’re helping the person, but you have to keep in mind that they are going through something completely separate from you. Or, someone is upset about an argument with a boyfriend/girlfriend and you want to connect by sharing your own difficulties. To be honest, that person probably doesn’t want to hear about you at that moment. They may not even want your advice.

A more evolved version of this is what I like to call the one-uppers. This is how it goes: you come home from an awful day. I mean really awful, like you need it to rain with some soft Drake playing in the background while you consume an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Somebody, whether it’s a friend, significant other, or family member, asks you what’s wrong. So you tell them. And it feels good to just get it all out, and it feels even better that someone actually cared enough to check in with you. What happens next? The person nods earnestly and then proceeds to trump all your stresses with their own. Maybe you have three papers due next week that you haven’t started, but they’ll have four. Maybe you got a parking ticket, but they’ll jump into the time they got two speeding tickets in a week. Even though everybody needs to release, be careful that you’re not choosing a time that discredits someone else’s. No one wants a competition of who has more on their plate or who is feeling more miserable, yet with people we are closest with, we tend to constantly be comparing and hiding it as “relating.”

When you’re a good friend, there's no doubt that you have an urge to show you can connect. When someone you care about is undergoing something, good or bad, there’s an innate pull to assure them. “I know what you’re going through.” Sometimes, though, we need to realize when it is the right time to let them have their moment. We need to focus. We need to ask questions. We need to empathize without making it about us. Sometimes we need to just listen.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

86713
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

52670
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments