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Listening

  • Women are good listeners, but it's a waste of time telling your troubles to a man unless there's something specific you want him to do.

  • No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why.

  • ... there are few better ways to cultivate one's own conversational powers than to become an interested and sympathetic listener. But it is not enough to remain silent while others are talking; that is not listening in any true sense. One must be manifestly attentive to the speaker, asking an occasional question, commenting upon what has been said. The good listener brings out the best in people. He is responsive. His eyes lights up occasionally with interest and pleasure. Not for an instant does he permit his attention to wander.

  • ... listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. You can see that when you think how the friends that really listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius as though it did us good, like ultraviolet rays.

    • Brenda Ueland,
    • "Tell Me More," in The Ladies' Home Journal ()
  • When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life.

  • Unless you listen, people are weazened in your presence; they become about a third of themselves. Unless you listen, you can't know anybody. Oh, you will know facts and what is in the newspapers and all of history, perhaps, but you will not know one single person. You know, I have come to think listening is love, that's what it really is.

  • ... listening, not talking, is the gifted and great role, and the imaginative role. And the true listener is much more beloved, magnetic than the talker, and he is more effective, and learns more and does more good.

  • It seemed rather incongruous that in a society of supersophisticated communication, we often suffer from a shortage of listeners.

  • Everybody talks, nobody listens. Good listeners are as rare as white crows.

    • Helen Keller,
    • "The Beauty of Silence," in The Home Magazine ()
  • ... there are few things that are more endearing than the grace of listening with attention; indeed, it is more than endearing, it is impressive — for no one knows what wisdom lies concealed in silence!

  • ... you seldom listen to me, and when you do you don't hear, and when you do hear you hear wrong, and even when you hear right you change it so fast that it's never the same.

  • ... it hath been a long and true observation, that every one had rather speak than listen to what another says; insomuch as for the most part all mankind run from company to company, not to learn, but to talk, and like bells their tongues as the clappers keep a jangling noise all at once, without method or distinction.

    • Margaret Cavendish,
    • Duchess of Newcastle, epistle, Nature's Pictures Drawn by Fancies Pencil to the Life ()
  • I don't think you ought to tell yourself too many things. You've got to listen to what things tell you once in a while.

  • A man who listens because he has nothing to say can hardly be a source of inspiration. The only listening that counts is that of the talker who alternately absorbs and expresses ideas.

  • I think what we've lost with computers and the technology age is the ability to listen. We don't have time to listen anymore. We do e-mail so we don't have to make a phone call and listen to someone's voice. We've made it possible to cram in as much as we can, to get everything over with as quickly as we can, so we can hurry on to the next thing and then get that over with just as quickly. People don't listen to each other anymore. People don't touch each other anymore.

    • Anne Rapp,
    • in Sara Caldwell and Marie-Eve Kielson, So You Want to Be a Screenwriter ()
  • A good listener: a physical presence that is warm, alert, intelligent — more important than any words.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • 1972, in David Rieff, ed., As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh ()
  • No thing makes any difference as long as some one is listening while they are talking. If the same person does the talking and the listening why so much the better there is just by so much the greater concentration. One may really indeed say that that is the essence of genius, of being most intensely alive, that is being one who is at the same time talking and listening. It is really that that makes one a genius. And it is necessary if you are to be really and truly alive it is necessary to be at once talking and listening, doing both things, not as if there were one thing, not as if they were two things, but doing them, well if you like, like the motor going inside and the car moving, they are part of the same thing.

  • i keep knowing / the language of other nations. / i keep hearing / tree talk / water words / and i keep knowing what they mean.

  • People tell you who they are if you listen to them.

  • You need eyes like an archerfish, able to see what happens on two planes at once. One set for watching the hands [signing], and the other for watching whatever it is he mouths.

  • People sinking into self-pity and depression are dreary, but they can't get out of it by themselves. So every now and then, just sit there and listen, and listen, and listen. You're paying your membership dues in the human race.

  • She [my mother] said that if I listened to her, later I would know what she knew: where true words came from, always from up high, above everything else. And if I didn't listen to her, she said my ear would bend too easily to other people, all saying words that had no lasting meaning, because they came from the bottom of their hearts, where their own desires lived, a place where I could not belong.

  • She was like a recorded telephone message — she didn't listen, she only spoke.

  • Good listeners are perceived as good conversationalists.

  • With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing ...

  • To feel as well as hear what someone says requires whole attention.

  • Woman's work as a listener is never done. ... I thought I'd spent too much of my life listening for some damn man — for my father and now for my husband.

  • It's amazing how much you can hear when no one is saying anything.

  • Not listening is probably the commonest unkindness of married life, and one that creates — more devastatingly than an eternity of forgotten birthdays and misguided Christmas gifts — an atmosphere of not loving and not caring.

  • In a society that prates about, but seldom practices, communication, the craving to be listened to, heard, understood — which originates with the first terrified wail, the circling arms, the breast, the consolatory murmur — is hard to assuage.

  • ... listening means accepting also.

  • Anybody can hear — it takes brains to listen.

  • ... as anyone with a speech or hearing disability can tell you, listening is not always auditory communication.

  • Before linguistics, before the literal link of language, there was listening.

  • She has a genius for listening. That is how she gives the impression of taking one into her confidence.

  • Nowadays, it is possible to perform various forms of Low-Impact listening via the telephone. The advent of technological advances such as computer games and online services (like ones that let you check stocks) have enabled Low-Impact listeners to endure family phone calls much longer than in the past. Dangers include mouse clicks, heavy typing, or a sudden loud buzzer that goes off when you have finished Boggle.

  • Listen and you will tell yourself everything you need to know.

  • ... good people managers are likely to listen more than they speak. Perhaps that's why we were given two ears and only one mouth.

  • If I listen long enough, the person will generally come up with an adequate solution.

  • We need to listen fully. It's the basis of all compassionate action.

    • Mirabai Bush,
    • in Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush, Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service ()
  • Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.

  • Interest begets interest ...

    • Valerie White,
    • in Ann Demarais and Valerie White, First Impressions ()
  • Perhaps the kindest thing one could ever do for most people was just to listen to them really to listen, so that they felt less alone.

  • ... one of the simplest paths to deep change is for the less powerful to speak as much as they listen, and for the more powerful to listen as much as they speak.

  • Being a good talker doesn’t make you a good listener, and being smart might make you a terrible listener.

  • Be the silence that listens.

    • Tara Brach,
    • in Timothy Ferris, Tribe of Mentors ()