a hard time listening

I have a hard time listening…. Well let me clarify, I have a hard time actually listening.  As I have tried to be introspective about who I am as a person, one thing has become despairingly clear.  I have a hard time just listening to people without formulating something I want to say in return.  I catch myself all the time almost interrupting someone to get my point across. As much as it pains me to admit it, this is definitely true in my conversations with my wife. I absolutely love talking to her. She is 100 times a better person than me, and I love to hear her opinion. However, I catch myself wanting to throw in something into the conversation a lot, and I miss her point sometimes because of it.

Want to know if you do it too? Do you ever catch yourself saying something like “well…” right in the middle of someone’s sentence? I also find myself doing some type of gesture with my index finger as if to say, “Hey sir or madam, I have an important point to throw in here!”

So what is the point of me confessing this? We are seven episodes in to the podcast at this point, and the beautiful thing is that it has spurned some really cool conversations around my office and with my friends. I have found that people are willing to open up to me more now that they know I am willing to open up (as heard on the second episode and others). I LOVE THIS. I love the conversation even if they disagree with me or with the podcast as a whole. The problem is that it exposes my propensity to want to interject.

Theology and philosophy are not my strong suits. To be honest, some of the conversations we have had on the podcast have gone over my head. There are long periods of time where I won’t speak on an episode somewhat because I am listening, but also sometimes because I have nothing to contribute. I yearn for the day when I do this in everyday conversations. I long to be a good listener.

So here is my call to action (do you like my spiritual speak there?).  Starting right now, I am going to make this my goal in every conversation I engage in: I will wait to hear someone out 100% before I decide if I need to speak or if it’s time for me to say nothing. I want to make it a habit to pause before I speak in order to be more thoughtful in my responses and to give the other person a chance to finish their thought.  In other words, I want to let God show me where he wants the conversation to go. I want to give the other person a chance to let me know if they want a response or just want me to listen. Maybe in this way I can serve them better.


about the author:

Brad Stair is a founder and the workhorse behind the Everything is OK podcast.  He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife Megan.