Jewish Journal


Trying to Listen

by Elliot Steingart

January 18, 2013 | 11:42 am

What was that, brother?

For a pretty good talker, I kind of suck at listening. My girlfriend has made me understand this point more clearly. We frequently play a game where I ask her what her plans are to which she responds, “I already told you.”

She dismisses me by saying, “you don’t care.”

The truth is I do. I just didn’t care the first time. Maybe I did but I was pre-occupied thinking about something I wanted to say.  This came to a boiling point when my girlfriend was talking about a mole she had removed. Without meaning to cut her off, I jumped in saying, “I have lots of moles too.”

“That’s it,” she blasted. “I’m done.”

“No, I want to hear more about your moles.” I said.

“No, your mole story is more important.” She said. “Go ahead.”

The end of my story is that "I have lots of moles." I didn’t have a good mole story. I don’t think a good mole story exists even among dermatologists.

I know a lot of people who only talk about themselves. These people are what you call, annoying. I admit that I talk more about myself with my girlfriend than I do with others because she is someone I trust and can depend upon to listen. I am hoping to become a better listener in 2013.

Seeking listening tips online, one helpful source suggests leaning in, tilting one’s head and occasionally nodding. This seems great for listening and fake listening. Another helpful tool is paraphrasing someone's previous statement. For example, if she says, “I am leaving you because you don’t listen to me.”  I would then say, “Okay, you are leaving me because I don’t listen. Wait! Don’t go.”

As important as I sometimes think I am, I never want to feel like I am annoying, unless I’m spending time with my sister. Struck with a sore throat this past week I have been unable to talk as much. I also have an excuse for not listening as much since my ears are plugged. My excuses are running thin, and I'm also running low on stories. Though I do have a pimple that I think might actually be a mole. I'll have to tell her about it.

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Elliot Steingart is a Los Angeles based comedian and writer who hosts a monthly comedy show, “Melgard Mondays” at Melgard Public House. Steingart has written jokes for...

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