1) No one likes to be interrupted.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have interrupted one of my poor brothers (sorry, Tyler) or sisters at home. As an extrovert, and a guy with a voice that carries well, I often do not even notice when they’re trying to share their own opinion, or stories. Lately, I’ve been learning more and more the importance of listening well and sharing the floor with others.
2) You’ll learn more about yourself than you thought.
As I’ve tempered my behavior and attempted to listen better at home to my siblings and out in public, I’ve come to realize how easy it is to fall into the trap of simply waiting for my own turn to talk. “Uh-huh”, “yeah”, “I see what you’re saying”, are not only conversational fillers (a necessary evil), but they’ve become a cloak for often not actually paying attention to what the other individual is saying. The truth is, what you have to say CAN wait, and it probably isn’t nearly as important as what they’ve been trying to tell you for the last five minutes while your eyes were “glazed over”, as my Dad would say.
3) You may actually become friends with someone.
Do you remember watching clips of old TV shows and movies with your grandparents? And how many of those shows could be based on typical conversations among friends, or even interactions with strangers, in places like a diner, a bar, and so on? Well, what happened to that? You’ll surprise yourself if you take the ear-buds out occasionally, and take the time to say, “Hi,” to someone. Sure, they may look at you weird (or think you’re hitting on them, and hey, maybe you are, because she’s cute), but who cares, you tried! On the flip-side, you may have just met your new best-friend, or your future spouse. We could all stand to be a little more others-oriented.
4) You’ll actually remember their name…
One of my largest obstacles in college was remembering the names of everyone I met…and I met A LOT of people. My Facebook “friends-list” went from 300 to nearly 1300 during my time at K-State. Can you imagine shaking the hands of nearly 1,000 people, adding them on Facebook, and then forgetting their names? Well, I’ve totally done it. And it’s awful–the awkwardness of saying, “Hey, so I totally know you from somewhere…but I have no idea what your name is…” Not to mention, it’s rude. Thankfully, I’m working on it, so the next time I meet you, hopefully I’ll remember your name! Today, I met a guy named Dillon that works with Cru at Johnson County Community College. Hi, Dillon! (If you ever come across this page…)
5) People will actually want to listen to you.
Don’t let this be the only reason you listen to others, but it’s certainly a positive side-effect. If you have taken the time to authentically care about another, the likely result is reciprocation. This is where real community and relationships can begin. As you take the time to carefully listen to your friends and random strangers, your relationships with them can deepen, and your influence with one another will increase.