A lot of people don't know how to listen. When they're family, you can't do much about it. If they're friends, well, you know you won't be calling them back any time soon! There is an art to conversation, and if listening is not a part of it, then there's nothing beautiful about it, nothing to make you want to return for more.
So why do we do it? Because, life, and everything that goes with it, starts in my head and expands around me. And because life, and everything that goes with it, starts in your head and expands around you. And because life, and everything that goes with it, starts in his or her head and expands around him or her.
What it boils down to is this: at the centre of the universe is me. But what it REALLY boils down to is this: at the centre of MY universe is me. At the centre of YOUR universe - well, it's not me. It's you.
We forget this, especially when in a conversation. So we do it all the time. Talking, I mean. Replying, answering, commenting, advising, informing, sharing outwards from our universe to yours.
None of these are bad things, except that a conversation is a shared process. In between all the talk, replies, answers, comments, advice, information and shares, there need to be spaces. These spaces are quiet spaces. They are not there for us to plan our next words. They are meant to be listening time.
It is not necessary to fill in all the blanks. The more attention we pay to our listening time, the easier this is to see. When someone tells us they are sad, sick or grieving, they do not always need an answer. They do not need to hear that your problems are worse than theirs. They do not need to know what they "should" do. They do not need reassurance that things are not as bad as they seem. Unless they have asked. Have they asked? If you don't know the answer to this, then perhaps you weren't listening.