The trap of being the listener

A couple of years back, during the peak of Covid, I got a call from a college friend. He hadn’t called me in years. The initial 2 minutes were spent checking on how we are keeping safe and when the pandemic is going to end after all. For the next 30 minutes or so, there is this monologue. He is a talker, I ended up listening to his career progression, office politics, and his opinions of other colleagues who are not doing so well. 

When the call finished, I was amazed that he never asked about my routine, my close ones, and my pursuits. Even I did not care to share, because there was no room in the conversation to do that.

A few weeks back, he called again. The same pattern continued. This time I exactly knew how the conversation will unfold. Some facts were repeated but overall the plot remained the same. I mostly heard him this time and did not spend my energy listening.

The constant need to overly express oneself, without being a listener in the conversation is nothing new. We find such people everywhere. They occupy 90% of the bandwidth in the conversation. 

Jordan Peterson, a Canadian Psychologist mentions in his book- 12 more rules for life that people organize their brains with conversation. They lose their minds if they don’t have anyone to tell their story to.

The constant nagging of your boss might give a good structure to their reality. The repeated stories you might hear from your colleagues constantly try to organize their thoughts and feel good about them.

But what about you?

So monologues do a great job of energizing those who conduct them. It helps them, and that’s why some people pay for therapy. There is a premium attached to listening because it is a service. 

But what about those who listen? 

Did you experience this?

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