Forget That Thought

If someone asked me which expression I dislike the most, it would be “Hold that thought”. First of all, I think it’s rude to interrupt someone, no matter what the excuse. Let’s accept that it’s an impolite gesture no matter how we cover it, phrase it, or attempt to be polite.

You’ll remember the iconic exchange during the cult film Pulp Fiction where Uma Thurman asks John Travolta, “In conversation, do you listen or wait to talk?” upon which Travolta replies, “I have to admit that I wait to talk.” As much as waiting is much more polite than interrupting someone, the quote is still a great summary of humankind’s inadequacy in regards to listening.

Returning to ourselves, how good are we really at listening? I’m not even talking about the ‘you talk, I’m listening’ scenarios in our modern lives where our smartphones yank us along like a leash. I’m talking more about the delusion behind rehearsing what you’re going to say.

I remember during a conversation where funny tales were being exchanged about a certain topic, a person I know interrupted another with his own story, which he of course believed to be much funnier. I think we can do a bit better since we’re no longer five years old. Let’s free ourselves of the delusion that our utterances are funnier, more accurate, wiser, or more interesting.

During your first conversation after this post, listen to the other person so intently that you forget your own thoughts.



Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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