Are you listening?

“Are you listening? Are you really listening?” This was a regular question asked of me on my free Spotify account. It is part of the “be a better phone friend” campaign that Three and the Samaritans are running together and it really has captured my imagination.

How many times am I at home and I’m “listening” but really my mind is elsewhere? Often I get away with it, but there’s those occasions when a question is asked and I have to confess that I wasn’t indeed listening.

How many times do I meet people when I’m out and about or at work and they’re talking, but my mind is elsewhere worrying about the next thing that has to be done?

I wonder what would happen if I made a conscious effort to listen, to really listen to those people that I live with, those who I meet on the street or in work or the people who I randomly encounter and may never ever see again.

I love this Proverb in The Message translation,

“Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.”

I wonder what difference it would make to the person who is telling me, if they knew that I was really listening. How much would it validate them and encourage them to know that someone is interested?

I wonder what wisdom I could learn if I just took the time to listen to other people’s stories and experience.

So the challenge to me (and you - should you choose to accept it) is that next time I’m in a situation that demands a good listener, I’ll be able to say “YES” to myself when I ask, “Am I listening? Am I really listening?”

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