People tend to talk more than they would listen. Why?
As a natural introvert, I often find myself being rather silent or even passive in a group conversation. It is not that I have nothing to say or that I find the topic uninteresting (although the latter might often be the case than not). But it is rather that there were already too many people eager to give their thoughts that I would find mine nothing short of inconsequential.
I am not being humble, or pretentiously so. Honestly, it’s just exhausting. Why would I want to be in the rush of thoughts pouring out into thin air but without any of them being given due reflection or respect? What I mean is that, for most of what people talk about, they are merely “fillers” to fill the awkward gap or to boost one’s ego.
I would rather my spoken thoughts be given serious consideration and a valuable response. I would rather converse with someone who truly values my input and not just focused on theirs. Otherwise, I would consider my voice and energy wasted.
It is easy to tell whether the other person actually cares for my words. They would listen earnestly when I speak, and most important of all, they would ask me questions along the lines of “what do you think of that?”. That is how I would know that that person is interested in what I have to say and not merely using the conversation to pass time.
“People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.” – Helen Keller
In most conversations, I am usually that person who asks tonnes of questions. It is my tactic to get to know that person’s ideas or thoughts. Surprisingly, not many people use the art of inquisition. I wager it is because asking questions require a bit more thinking than telling what you already know. Asking a question – an intelligent question – requires one to formulate a sentence that would gauge the other person’s response to get to a certain conclusion.
I find Bertrand Russell’s quote very apt: Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so. Most people would rather not think of a question to ask and instead they would just talk aimlessly to avoid such trouble.
Now I’m not condemning those who enjoy talking. I do enjoy listening to people talk so enthusiastically. But it is when such talk is pointless and only concerns themselves and does not include the listener at all – now that would annoy me greatly!
On reflection, it’s good that I could differentiate between those who are engaging and those who think only of themselves. It saves me the trouble of heartache and trying to please others. If they do not care at all about what I have to say, then why should I say anything at all? My thoughts and energy are reserved for the ears of those who would kindly take my words and mold them into something more meaningful.
Now that would make me truly happy.
“Five percent of the people think;
ten percent of the people think they think;
and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
― Thomas A. Edison.