Today’s post is brought to you by Jokeeece. Thank you for the inspiration to write.
A few days ago one of my moderators and followers of my twitch stream asked me what were some skills that I considered were important to have.
To this I quickly responded listening: and further, paying attention.
Now, I know chat. You know me. I can talk for miles, so it is funny hearing me talk about listening, but I really do mean it. In fact, because I talk so much, I know the importance of listening more than anyone. Mainly because at times people often think that due to my my hyperactive talking I don’t listen.
And well sometimes I don’t.
But I will say that I listen a hell of a lot more than people think that I do! My chief exhibit of this is how I remember almost everyone that frequents my twitch stream, and often I remember the conversations that we talked about, even if they were a year or even further, years ago. For example, take Dmanizme from yesterday. He returned to my stream for the first time in over a year (as I had been gone from twitch) and he said,
“Who are you and why do I follow you?”
I responded with,
“Dmanizme! You don’t remember me? I remember you! Put your thinking cap on!”
And well he did. And he remembered. And had we both ended up having a great time in the chat. But what might not have happened if I had not remembered him. But thankfully because I did in fact pay attention to him when he entered my stream for the first time over a year ago, he chose to stick around and further even financially support the stream. Thank you so much for the gracious tip. Check your mailbox soon, that thank you letter is going to be on its way. (Polaroid Nudes will be included)
Anyways, listening is an absolutely crucial skill to have. We live in a highly advanced society. The way that we humans get along and live with others is based on communications amongst us. If we are not paying attention we are going to miss out on many important cues.
This could be that someone likes us, (romantically or platonically) or that they don’t like us, that maybe someone next to you is having a rough day and could use a kind word, or that something seriously bad is happening and that we should be looking for signs of trouble. Things are constantly happening around us, and it is up to us to be awake and to pay attention to them.
But the most important reason I believe that you should listen to people and the one that should firmly make cause for you to adopt this skill, is so that you don’t hurt or annoy others. This world is not just or me, and not just for you, but it is for all of us. So remember that other people live in it.
Nothing is more of a subtle “fuck you” than not listening to another person.
And trust me, I have fucked a lot of people in this regard to come to this understanding. (This makes me quite the player.) Many times I have just not paid attention or I decided to do something else when someone was talking to me, at great cost. The other party involved was at the very least annoyed with me, and at the worst was hurt that I ignored them.
My lack of listening to them made them feel as if they were not important.
And as you all know, this is the last feeling I ever want to impart on someone. I stream for the exact opposite reason: to let everyone know that they are important and to make them feel good. Not listening is honestly diametrically opposed to my passion in life. I really need to get a handle on it.
I will tell you a story from this past summer where I seriously learned that I needed to listen more. I had the fortune of dating a very nice girl for a few months who really made me grow as a person. I am so thankful for having this relationship. As to why it did not continue, things were just not logistically possible and alas to quote Lil Baby, sometimes that is just
“how life goes.”
I absolutely wish her the best and I am sure she wishes the same for me.
Back to the story, every day, My girlfriend and I would talk with one another about what happened throughout the day and respectively offer our insight onto the events which had transpired. Now, while we both told each other our stories, one of us was the better listener:
Her by far.
And I mean a long-shot. Such that she took me on as her charity case to teach me how to listen more effectively. Whenever she would be telling me a story and she sensed that I was not paying attention (women are very good at this by the way) she would ask,
“Nolan, what did I just say?”
To which I would then stumble and clearly demonstrate that I had zoned out and was not listening. She would usually shake her head and chastise me. I would say something like,
“I’m Sorry! I am listening now!”
to which she would respond,
“No, No, No. Too late.”
She really would not tell me the rest of the story. If I was not going to listen, then obviously I just didn’t care so I didn’t get to know the rest. She really was right. I couldn’t argue with that. I deserved my punishment.
I still wonder what the ending was to so many of those stories. Especially the one where she ran away from home with her friend when she was 10. The two of them were going to go to a concert or something and they had these teddy bears in their hands. They made it all the way to the metro station but I don’t know what happened next because I decided to not pay attention.
Such a shame. I really do wonder what happened to those girls and those teddy bears.
Well, I will never know, all because I did not listen. But I have to thank her, I sure as hell listen a lot more now.
And again listening is important, because everyone is important. I argue that not listening to another human is potentially one of the most hurtful things which you can do to another. Every single one of us on this earth gets up every day and wants to achieve some sort of purpose. Those of us that have one feel good at the end of the day and are able to continue on existing in this strange world. Those of us that do not, have the roughest of nights.
People by their very nature are looking for a purpose: something that makes them feel important. Something that validates their existence and makes it worth it.
I will say it again, importance is important. So please for the love of God, do not make people feel unimportant. It just isn’t right. If you are going to make fun of them, do it another way. Have a heart.
So listen to other people, it really is not that hard. Especially once you start to get good at it. You will learn how to pay attention and further you will find that people say the strangest things and it really can be fun to just sit back and take it in. Now, I will be honest, not everyone is particularly interesting, but in these cases just be cordial and find a way to move on without coming off as a jackass.
So get to it everyone. Start listening. Call your mother, call your father, hang out with out a close friend, or even strike up a conversation with someone while you are in line to grab a coffee. Ask them about their day and make a point to listen to actively listen and let them tell you about their day. You just might make theirs.
Heck, you just might make their week.
Start listening and keep smiling,