If You Truly Want To Listen

It's an art form.

  1. Be quiet. Shut your mouth, open your mind.
  2. Be present. People are often visible yet less tangible than the air around them, apparent but unfelt.
  3. Don’t analyse. This is not the time or place for your self-defined scientific method of rationalising and probing for validity and sense.
  4. Don’t force a reaction. If it isn’t funny to you, don’t laugh. Exclamations are spontaneous. If you have to think about exclaiming, it’s false.
  5. There’s no need to consciously nod repeatedly as a sign that you’re following. You’ll end up looking like a mechanical doll. Dramatic grunting is suspicious too. See 4 above for reinforcement.
  6. Don’t contribute till you’re invited to do so. Interjections are rude. And even when there’s an invitation, take care not to impose your opinion or take over the conversation.
  7. Don’t judge. You’re (probably) not qualified.
  8. Know your role, sounding board, know your role and play it well.
  9. Be kind. No matter how scandalous, how unsettling or how unrelatable, be kind.
  10. When it’s done, it’s done. Don’t linger. Don’t rehash. Don’t reiterate.