In this age of Twitter and of Facebook status updates and of the constant broadcasting of everyone’s most insignificant thoughts as though they were meaningful, people have grown accustomed to letting their ideas flow uninterrupted and unchallenged. At the same time, the art of listening has been forgotten. For that reason, I’d like to promote the relearning of that critical skill:
1- Take your fingers out of your ears. I realize that you’re trying to expedite the listening process by trying to remove all that wax. Unfortunately, that’s less helpful than you think.
2- Shut your trap. You do not hear through your tongue.
3- Stop talking. If the other person can’t get a word in edgewise, you’re not listening.
4- Be quiet. It’s hard to hear the other person when you’re making all that noise.
5- Zip it. (Your mouth and especially your pants. Distractions are bad.)
6- Now that your mouth is hopefully inactive, get rid of all that extra noise inside your head. You know, it’s your planned reply or perhaps the latest Miley Cyrus song you just can’t get out of your head. I figure I can accuse you of loving Miley Cyrus because you’re not listening to me anyway.
7- Do not assume that the other person is full of bullshit simply because they’re not telling you what you already believe. The world is full of people who already do that They’re called politicians, prostitutes, and clothing salespeople.
8- It does not count as listening when you believe the salesman when he tells you that your butt does not look big in whatever you’re trying on. Listening means taking a moment to think about what you’re hearing.
9- Never forget that what you supposedly hear is important to the other person, even if you consider it to be total BS. They’ll be annoyed if you disregard what entered your ears. Bugs can be sent in to check on the successful transmission of information.
10- Start drinking. Listening will open up a world of unpleasant information and alcohol is one effective way to cope with the shattering of your fragile little worldview.
11- In case you didn’t get the point earlier, shut up.