I was listening, but…


“Just because I didn’t do what you told me, doesn’t mean I wasn’t listening to you!”

Hank Ketcham, American cartoonist who created Dennis the Menace

We think that when people listen, they agree. When someone nods in understanding, we assume it means consensus.  We may prefer harmony in our dialogues for it brings a sensation of well-being, but disagreements are the genesis of transformations.

Listening doesn’t mean you agree.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”


Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

18 thoughts on “I was listening, but…

    1. That is exactly what we do…and it makes the discussion a trifle more engaging.

      “It may happen sometimes that a long debate becomes the cause of a longer friendship. Commonly, those who dispute with one another at last agree.” Elbert Hubbard


    1. Well done! Honest, open and respectful discussions within the workplace creates amazing possibilities by bringing out the best in everybody. We spend a considerable amount of time and energies in our careers. When we are part of something that builds community, we make a difference by participating – by showing up!!!


  1. Hi Rebecca
    Having a bit of trouble leaving comments so either you are getting many or none. Will try again.

    Listening a good theme for me this week.

    “Whilst we are speaking we aren’t listening” and as someone who is not good with silence this is a timely reminder for me.


  2. I agree. This is a very important point. During the UK petrol blockade, when the verb ”to listen” appeared to be understood as meaning ” to do what I ask you to do”, l did not hear a single journalist, not even Jeremy Piaxman, ask people what they meant by ”listen”. No interviewer that I saw gave the protesters a chance to say ”well, yes, Gordon Brown may be listening, but he’s not bloody well doing what we are asking him to door. This meant that though protestors were asked ”Well, why isn’t he listening?” To which the reply was ”because he doesn’t care” or ”cause he’s useless, and doesn’t realise the harm he’s doing”, it was impossible to ask the protesters ”Well, if he is listening, why do you think he’: is not doing as you ask (apart from the traditional and expected trick of keeping something back for a pre-election ‘bribe)? ls it possible that, in the nations’best interests, there are very good reasons why he is listening, disagreeing, and not acceding to your demands. (I would include a list of likely and valid reasons, including israel, the Palestinians and the Gulf Stream, but the list is almost as long as this mail and justifying the government’s position is not the point of this dissertation).  



    1. Isn’t it interesting that “listening” can take on such grand proportions. We consider that listening takes place between two people, but it can grow to a community, a nation, a world. And it goes beyond humanity. Nature, our environment is speaking. We say that we are listening….


  3. There is an art to listening. Sometimes one cannot get a word in edgewise. Or, often, there is a tendency for some to interrupt the one who is talking before they end their sentence. A bad habit! Giving attention and listening to the one who is talking is an act of respect.


  4. True, true. And how often does it happen that a person will express their disagreement with you, and you’re not even sure if they listened at all?? Frustrating. Great post.


    1. It is frustrating – People hear what they want to hear. Dick Cavett once said: “It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.” Thanks for joining the discussion – much appreciated!


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