Are You Listening? 

Great!  Because we have a couple of things to say on the subject.  The subject of listening, that is.

As I think about listening, the following saying comes to mind: “A friend is someone who asks the second question.” 

The Mister’s somewhat irritating but favorite quote is: “The Good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.” 

A third voice comes from Murial Wilkins, a Harvard-trained career-consultant.  In a recent podcast, she said: “Stop talking.  Listen carefully and ask questions about the other person.  Listening is the biggest and most underused skill that helps drive empathy and a lot of other things as well.”  She’s addressing the workforce in that podcast but her words are widely applicable.

And last, but not least, is Kelsey Grammer, from the sitcom Frasier.    He’s widely remembered in his role of Dr. Frasier Crane, a radio talk-show psychologist.  In the show, he always answers his callers by saying, simply: “I’m listening.” 

And it is just that simple.  We’re given so many opportunities to listen.  To listen with curiosity and interest. To connect. To ask the second question. Why, then, does it seem to be so hard, for so many?