Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Art of Listening


Do you remember when you were a kid and you would lay on the grass and look up at the sky and think? That's right. Just think. 

Those were quiet times in a quiet world. There was no soundtrack to your life except the beating wings of a butterfly. No earbuds, no music, no streaming podcasts, no Siri, Alexa, or Cortana.

Occasionally the streak of a jet's white trail moved across the sky but most of the time it was simply those big white clouds. You'd find shapes in the clouds. Sometimes solve all your problems by simply staring at the sky. Silently.

So when exactly did the world get so noisy that you couldn't think, or hear, or listen?

It is a noisy world. It's a world where we are constantly elbowing each other for visibility. We spend our time jockeying to be seen and heard and felt and mostly simply acknowledged. Talking louder and louder, drowning each other out in our quest.  

One of the reasons Seekerville is so popular is because we are not the norm. We listen. To everyone. You are heard and felt. Some of my favorite blogs do not allow comments. Why are they favorites? Because I'm not fighting to be heard. Everyone has been silenced and it's sort of refreshing. Nothing is expected of me except to receive the message. 

What if we stopped dialing up to be heard, and instead started listening again?

Listening is an art. One that is getting lost in the noise. Getting lost among the technology, the text messages, the emails. Do people even know how to listen anymore?


"...we’re obsessed – the official term is ‘TechnoStressed’ – we feel we must constantly check our various accounts because we can. Many people are also driven by the fear of missing out (FOMO). Because of how much happens in any given instant, we’re missing something when we’re unplugged, and we’re often compelled to log back on to see what’s happened since our last visit, or to confirm that nothing has." Aeon. And Their Eyes Glazed Over. 

As writers, there are four primary areas of the art of listening and they are essential to art, creativity, and communication.  Most of them also apply to readers.


The Art of Listening to Others.

 Pay attention to your listening skills. Are you guilty of not listening, but instead of looking ahead for an opportunity to give your opinion? A conversation has become something akin to debate team playoffs. 


"...most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating." -Dr. Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®  

"Slowing down your responses and becoming a better listener aids you in becoming a more peaceful person. It takes pressure from you. If you think about it, you’ll notice that it takes an enormous amount of energy and is very stressful to be sitting at the edge of your seat trying to guess what the person in front of you (or on the telephone) is going to say so that you can fire back your response. But as you wait for the people you are communicating with to finish, as you simply listen more intently to what is being said, you’ll notice that the pressure you feel is off. You’ll immediately feel more relaxed, and so will the people you are talking to." -Richard Carlson Ph.D., Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff 




You're a writer. You know it's not all in the words.  Besides listening to what's being said, listen to the subtext of body language. For example.


  • Most people blink six to eight times a minute, but when stressed, they blink more often.
  • Facing the palms down or clenching the fists shows the speaker is firm and may not be flexible. Open palms facing upward indicate openness.
  • Increased hand-to-face touching, especially nose rubbing and mouth covering may indicate lying.


And here's a startling revelation. What if during a conversation, instead of responding to everything, you opted to think about it? That's right, instead of jumping in with your two cents, consider really listening. Let the question or comment percolate in your mind. You can always respond later after careful consideration. Yes! Really! No response is perfectly acceptable. 

It's like your phone, your email and even your doorbell. You are not required to respond when someone comes calling. I know! In the words of Vizzini from The Princess Bride, "INCONCEIVABLE!"



The Art of Listening to Self

Most writers are introverts. Guard and protect your introverted self. Revel in the fact that you are a good listener and don't despair because you aren't out there screaming with the masses. Don't allow the current social landscape to steal your gift. It's rare. It's beautiful. Don't become so overwhelmed with listening to others that you fail to listen to yourself.


"Introverts are thoughtful, imaginative, tend to work independently and think outside the box. Introverts are keen observers and sensitive listeners. Introverts prefer to be involved intimately with one person and are often drawn to life’s spiritual side. Introverts are not antisocial, shy, or aloof. But they are in the minority—outnumbered by extroverts three-to-one in a culture that values being an “Outie” over an “Innie.”" Marti Laney Psy. D.,The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in An Extrovert World. 


The Introvert's Way
"Introverts tend to be excellent listeners. I'm certainly better at listening to chatter than producing it and I'm bumfuzzled by people I see in cars, on streets, at the supermarket, nattering away on their cell phones. What do they find to talk about so long and enthusiastically? I say what needs saying--usually a sentence or two--and then stop. Sometimes I lose interest in what I'm saying midway through a sentence and stop there (to my husband's irritation)." -Sophia Dembling, The Perils of Listening Well-Psychology Today.

The Art of Listening to the Work

Writing is not about multi-tasking. It's about reducing the noise and, protecting the work and listening to the work. 

I often quote Jenny Crusie's Taking Out the Garbage: How to Protect Your Work and Get Your Life. 
"Our energy and our emotion and our words are our stock in trade; we have to be careful not to steal that stock from others."-Jenny Crusie.

We need to listen to the work and listen to the characters or we simply cannot write the story. There is not enough room in our mind for the noise of the world around us and our story. Something has to give. 

Listen to the work. 

A University of Nebraska research study shows that tuning out background noise blocks fatigue in the area of the brain that helps you focus, doubling your ability to concentrate and focus on details.

You can't figure out your character's internal and external conflict if you can't hear them. Listen to the work. I highly recommend Mac's Soft Earplugs or noise canceling headphones. 

The Still Small Voice

Be still and know that I am God.

Finally, remember that we can only surrender to God's plan if we are still and listen to his plan. Does that mean once a day? Or does that surrender occur 24/7? 

Listen. What do you hear? Let me know how you are finding ways to listen. What is the most difficult challenge for you in this very noisy world?


Tina Radcliffe listens carefully from her cave in the west valley of Phoenix, Arizona. Sign up for her monthly newsletter at www.tinaradcliffe.com  It comes out this week and she'll be sharing information on her free Facebook Chat on Writing for Woman's World Magazine that is coming up at the end of May. 





Leave a comment today for one of these lovely giveaways. One each for two commenters. The writerly sign comes with Mack's soft earplugs. The Pride & Prejudice tote comes with a book tucked inside.  Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.





Okay, I'm starving. I brought mini chocolate croissants. Coffee and tea are hot.




181 comments :

  1. Oh, Tina!!! This is an amazing post! Sometimes I get the feeling that people are afraid of quiet, and definitely afraid of missing out on anything. It's like an information-driven frenzy ... scary, actually.

    "Writing is not about multi-tasking. It's about reducing the noise and, protecting the work and listening to the work." Amen!

    Thank you for this wonderful, inspiring and reassuring post :-)

    Nancy C

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  2. Mine was the first comment??? How did that happen? LOL

    Nancy C

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  3. Everyone else is still shocked I told them to listen. LOLOL.

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    1. Frozen with shock and conflicted...is commenting WRONG? Should I just LISTEN for once!

      Looks like we all thawed though. 101 comments already! :D

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  4. I think I'm a bad listener. I'm one of those people who can't remember anyone's name five minutes after they said it. Why? I didn't listen.

    And I can think of times...those times that make me cringe...when I didn't let someone finish, I was too quit with my lovely wit.

    Or when I was in the presence of someone wise, or just knowledgeable, and I didn't give them my full enough attention.

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    1. Mary, we all do that. Sigh.
      KB

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    2. Mary, I do it, too. I felt so convicted when I read that about sitting on the edge of my seating waiting to talk!

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    3. Mary I'm so with you on all three of these. Working to improve

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    4. Ditto. I was convicted by the quote by Stephen Covey about framing what someone is saying by our own life experiences. I always want to leave people with a nugget, something that will brighten their day, or make them laugh or make them think. But thinking on my own life, some of the people who have made the biggest impact on my life are those who are so quiet, who don't always offer advice. It's so refreshing in a self-help world.

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    5. Oh boy, I am the ultimate interrupter. As soon as I grasp what the other person is saying -- or *think* I grasp what they're saying -- I'm ready to move on. Gotta work on this more.

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  5. I remember, before I was published, at the ACFW conference I had a meeting, one of those 15 minute interviews, with Krista Strover, then the acquiring editor for Love Inspired. I had this whole page of books I'd written targeted right at her.
    And somehow I just handed it over and she's reading down the list. At one point she said, "We don't publish things like this, with issues in them." (I can't remember what book it was)
    I quickly jumped in to explain my book WHY I'd picked that issue, why it was okay the way I had done it.
    She looks up from her reading and, nice as could be, but very clearly said, "We don't publish things like that."

    And I was struck by the realization that I was having a meeting with a very perfectly placed human being who was TRYING to talk to me. TRYING to tell me what they DID want, what they DID publish. And I decided it'd be wise to shut up and LISTEN.

    I've tried to apply that to my life. And maybe that's why I look back on times I've failed and cringe.

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  6. Richard Carlson's book really had an impact on me in so many ways. It really taught me to shut up. A lot of times I just need to SHUT UP! So yes, I can relate, Mary.

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  7. I do enjoy the quiet. Just embracing the silence. Much easier to reflect.

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    1. I agree, Mary. I just want to wrap my arms around silence.

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    2. My whole life is silence. Once in a while I enjoy speaking to a human being.

      Carefully regulated of course.

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  8. What a great post Tina. Listening is a lost art and I'm sure modern technology is the reason for it. I believe it is beautiful when the TV or radio are turned off and you sit in silence and listen. My best part of my day is in the early morning hours when I can sit in a quiet house and listen to God waiting for His sweet words to touch my heart. I also like the quiet when I can listen to the sounds of nature.

    Please count me in on the giveaway. I especially love the tote bag.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Cindy that would be right now where I am. 3:24 am. and all is quiet. You are in the drawing.

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  9. Great post, Tina! I can become quite cranky if I don't get a certain amount of quiet time each day.
    Many years ago, I worked with a man who NEVER stopped talking. He'd go on and on about various topics, never pausing for anyone else to give their opinion. Little did he know, that his excessive bloviating made me a better listener.

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    1. I had to look up bloviate. What a wonderful word. I love that word.

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    2. Okay, I just learned a new word today, too! Must remember not to bloviate!

      Not that I'm all that likely to, introvert that I am. :)

      Totally with you on needing quiet time every day, Jill. Too much meaningless noise and chatter just exhausts me.

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    3. I love that word, too! Thanks, Jill. The word sounds like it's meaning! hahaha

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  10. What an insightful post... Listening is such an important aspect of life, and it's fairly typical for folks to jump to the defensive these days, as if everything must be argued or divided.

    Facebook has been a window on the world since last fall because unwitting people are giving me GREAT STORY FODDER and characterization profiles.... because what kind of person goes totally ballistic in an open arena where a world of people can see your "stuff"...

    So I put my listening ear (which is really a reading eye) there, and I'm binge-storing information. If you're writing contemporaries, the information flood on social media is like a free library of reality-based people.

    I listen sporadically. I listen to God. I'm not afraid to beg and then listen...

    But I tend to block people who talk more than they perform. Talk is cheap and I'd rather quietly get things done than entertain chatter. I can quietly emulate the people who've paved the way in Christian fiction and solid life skills because they've already done it.

    No words needed. That makes me a very happy copycat!!!

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  11. Talk is cheap and the price tag of silence is greater than silver or gold. Not many people appreciate that.

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  12. The book... "The Introvert's Way", and the amazingly perfect tagline above the title... "and the 70% of "highly sensitive people"..."

    That is a perfect tagline that appeals to "highly sensitive people"... which I am not. (We all know this, and I am okay with it!!!) The marketer targeted her audience and nailed it!!

    When introverts get defensive about their sensitivities, they weaken their stance.

    There's nothing wrong with being an introvert. I'd be lost without the beauty of Emily Dickinson's work... I have dear friends who are introverts and we love each other. But I think there's a fine line here between introvert and insecure... An introvert who's secure and simply finds the world annoying should thrive. One of my introvert friends puts her work in prayer and giving and she's amazing... and a true introvert who does so much good. The other is in a job with people all day, every day, and has been elevated to teaching seminars across the country, and is so out of her comfort zone as to be astronomical... but she knows her stuff so well, that sharing it with other professionals is all right. She's secure in her knowledge.

    Maybe that security comes with time and experience? And being open to outside factors?

    I'm usually too busy cleaning up messes from my talking to listen as well as I should, so the whole thing is a good lesson to me!!!

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    1. When anyone gets defensive they weaken their stance. The beauty is we don't have to defend ourselves, introvert or extrovert. We are both able to thrive. That small section of this post is actually about introverts learning to accept who they are and guard it and not feel the need to defend or pretend to be what they are not.

      This post in general is about listening. To others, ourselves, the work and God.

      Listening remains highly underrated.

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  13. I am an introvert who has been thrust into extrovert-type roles most of my life (newspaper reporting and a brief period as a pastor's wife). Quiet refreshes and recharges me. In this last quadrant of my life, I'm getting a feel for what's worth saying and what isn't.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Amen to that, Kathy! And I chuckled as well. The old Abraham Lincoln quote.

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  14. Good morning, Tina! Shutting out the clamor (verbal or on-line) that is constantly going on around us is hard--but oh, so very important for our spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. We desperately need time to hear God's "still, small voice" in so many areas of our life--relationships, health, creativity, etc.

    It's amazing how even a short duration of "unplugging" is restorative. Several years ago I spent a mere 2 nights and 3 days at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon-MUCH more remote and uncongested than the South Rim. No TV. No computers. No constantly checking emails or getting hammered by the latest world disaster. Just long walks. Watching the sun rise and set. Wildlife. A thunderstorm stretching across the canyon. I felt SO relaxed when I returned home even after such a short time. So energized. At peace. Things in much better perspective.

    I need, though, to be more diligent at carving out that kind of time closer to home and on a more regular basis. A more-than-full-time job and writing 2 books a year tends to snatch away those opportunities.

    But more and more I feel a growing need to carve out time to "cloud gaze" in order to strengthen relationships and restore health & creativity.

    To listen.

    Thank you for the confirmation, Tina.

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    1. Cloud gazing and listening to water. I long for a hammock. Or two.

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  15. With two teenage boys under our roof, it's hard to find even a tiny bit of peace and quiet, so when I do have it, I hold on to it as long as I possibly can. I used to love being around people all the time, but I've noticed the older I get the more I crave being alone. When I write I have to have complete silence. No music. No TV. Nothing. Nada. It's the only way I can fully concentrate on what I'm doing. Great post, Tina!

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    1. This explains why my bathroom pretty much has all of life's necessities in it. It's my panic room.

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    2. Stephanie, I used to have the tV on as background noise. But these days, I find myself turning it off. I think I need more quiet now that I'm older and actually have no kids at home during the school year.

      Of course, now it's summer and kids are home! I'm happy, though. Will have to find my quiet in the mornings. :)

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    3. Missy - My kids are out of school for the summer too, and this is the time I wish I had my own office. Right now my desk is in the living room in the middle of the traffic and chaos. I guess I'll have to find my quiet in the mornings too. :)

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  16. Yes, yes, yes...Not only are most writers introverts, but probably a vast number of readers are too. I am an introvert who enjoys meaningful relationships and one-on-one conversations much more than idle chatter with a group. Put me in a crowd of strangers and I'll be looking for the closest exit, I just can't relate to that many people at once unless there's a common interest.

    As a reader, being an introvert who enjoys quiet is a perfect setup for "book relationships". I am listening intently and with my whole attention to what the writer is saying to me. When the story is well written, a reader feels like she has gotten to know the characters personally, listened to their story, the who, the what, the why. It fits my need for one-on-one relationship and conversation to a T. I become a part of the story, involved with the characters without having to compromise my need for a quiet meaningful existence , perfect!

    Great blog post Tina, I heard everything you said :)

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    1. Yes, Tracey, reading is an intimate one-on-one relationship. The article above on Eyes Glazing Over speaks to the new trend of power skimming. So very sad.

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    2. P.S. I knew you would hear this. Get out your tin can and string and we can chat. :)

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    3. No power skimming for me, I don't want to miss a word, each one contributes to the whole experience. However, as I was discussing with Jackie Smith the other day, my attention span seems to have settled in the 300-350 page range as I've gotten older,lol.

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    4. If I look at a book bigger than that I get nervous.

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  17. The bakery dropped off the mini chocolate croissants. Enjoy! Silently of course.

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    1. This is proof, once again, we are sisters separated at birth. Not only do we both "speak introvert", we "speak chocolate and pastry". Yum!

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    2. On the floor laughing. Let's go to Paris together.

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    3. Did you know that they can spot you are an American by your smile. Most European countries consider our big old American smile suspect. In fact Walmart had to pull out of Russia because the employees would not smile. It is not customary. Yet it is a rule in American stores.

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    4. Wouldn't that be awesome?! An introverted book loving group, traveling across France enjoying chocolate, pastries and coffee! I'm all in, send me the itenerary!I call dibs 0n Tina for roommate! She'll be in charge of unusal/interesting facts like why Walmart left Russia, lol. love my daydreaming adventures,I should have been a writer ;)

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  18. Listening can be peaceful. That's what I come away with from this blog today. You're not rushed to have all the answers. You're not tuned to be plugged in, which zaps all my energy. Just listen and think. I heard this the other day and I'm still thinking about it. I don't know how to respond, but since "introvert" was mentioned, I'll bring it up here. I was listening to a podcast and the speaker said, "God didn't create you introverted. Pain did. I have never seen introverted children." I'm still processing and don't know how to respond to that statement.

    The tote with the book tucked inside, "book tucked inside". That sounds relaxing. When I'm reading I can't respond lol.

    Great post, Tina! I'm going to go process it some more. Thank you for the permission to listen and then respond later. I finally learned just because I receive an email or a text, it doesn't mean I have to jump up and answer it right then. (My kids don't understand this concept, however, when it's them texting me. But they don't reply immediately to mine either I tell them.) My husband can't stand it, because, sometimes, I let the house phone ring and don't answer it. (Isn't that what voice mail is for??)

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    1. I'm with you all the way, Sally. Introverted doesn't mean you avoid people and avoid sharing the gospel. It means you respect your personal boundaries.

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    2. Wow, Sally, I just don't think I can buy into that speaker's logic. Very harsh.

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    3. God does make introverted children, I was one of them. No pain made me this way, it was just my personality. I enjoyed playing with other kids, but was equally happy being quiet, sitting alone in a corner by myself reading a book..and thinking. We are all unique creations and I'm saddened to think a preacher would make anyone feel like they had something wrong with them because they weren't an extrovert. I hope anyone who heard that statement would realize it for an opinion rather that scriptural.

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    4. I don't like crowds, don't like too many people around. I am much more content by myself. I recharge that way. Being around people is like work for me, if that makes sense. I've always been this way. Give me a book, a hike out in the woods, alone, and I'm perfectly happy. If you're always surrounded by others, noise, how do you hear God speak? I'd always be distracted. I love my alone time.

      Thank you guys for your feedback. I appreciate it.

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  19. "He Never Listens to Me"

    We hear with the ear
    We listen with the mind
    We can even listen intently
    when there's nothing to be heard.

    We can listen 'for' the silence
    and hearing that silence know
    that predators are near.

    We can listen to a suspect
    to hear what isn't said
    and learn the more from that silence
    than from all that could be heard.

    The best listening may come
    from the inner ear.

    "I Heard. I Listened. But I Didn't Obey."


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    1. and learn the more from that silence
      than from all that could be heard.

      Amen.

      I am very grateful for the God of second chances. There was a time when he gently nudged me to act or speak and I did not. Now I know that I must obey when nudged. Introvert or not.

      Obedience is key.

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    2. I'm also extremely grateful for the times I was about to say something and God's nudge said, DON'T!

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    3. LOLOLOL. MYRA!!!! AMEN TO THAT. LOLOL.

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    4. "Obedience is key."

      And yet they are taking it out of the marriage vows!

      "Talk is cheap."

      Do you mean those Wall Street Firms that pay $250,000 to $400,000 for a hour talk are not really paying for the talk?

      "We read fiction in order to live other lives."

      Reading: the perfect activity for introverts.

      By their silence how many know I 'heard' what TV show they didn't listen to?

      Many public speakers, who are actually introverts, will tell you that the larger the audience, the less stressful is giving the speech.





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  20. Great post. Both gifts sound amazing. I love the bag.

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    1. Why did you find this to be a great post, Cathyann? Are you listening?

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  21. Thank you for the insightful post, Tina.
    I bet this post would've had less comments than usual, except for that great giveaway! Please toss my name in the bowl. :)

    This is a great reminder. As an introvert, I often opt for shutting people out instead of listening. Not really a good habit. I'm going to work on this.

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    1. I'm listening, but lol, not sure what you are implying?!! That people don't want to listen? Good point, Amber. You are entered.

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    2. Hi Amber:

      God gave us two ears and one mouth. I think He wants us to listen twice as much as we talk. Besides I've found that extroverts are many times more likely to shut others out. "Please hold your questions until after the lecture."

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  22. Oh my gosh, Tina, I just LOVE this on so many levels!! But I'm going to break it up into two comments since I tend to be a wee bit long-winded ...

    1.) Although I wouldn't actually classify myself as an introvert, I am a recluse, so there are similarities, I think. For instance, I like to think I am "thoughtful, imaginative, tend to (no, I DO) work independently, and am a sensitive listener. But you can scratch the "think outside the box" and "keen observer." And without question, I GREATLY prefer to be involved intimately with one person and am drawn to life’s spiritual side more and more as I get older.

    I often refer to myself as a "recluse who has the misfortune of having an outgoing personality," which is SO very true. If left to my self, I would sit in a chair and write/connect with God rather than socialize, which sometimes drives my husband crazy, necessitating a chain attached to my ankle to drag me out of the house ... ;)

    2.) LOVE Sophia Dembling's statement that, "Sometimes I lose interest in what I'm saying midway through a sentence and stop there (to my husband's irritation)."

    YES, YES, YES!! I soooo relate!! As a very emotional person, I have to FEEL the emotion at all times for my interest to be engaged, which is why I hit the wall on writing at times because it's hard to keep that level of emotion constant enough to produce something I like.

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  23. Okay, I'm back.

    3.) You said: "We need to listen to the work and listen to the characters or we simply cannot write the story."

    I couldn't agree more! Which is one of the reasons I don't read a lot of writing self-help books anymore (I did in the beginning of my career), because I would rather listen (which I equate with "feel") what the characters are saying and let them lead the way.

    4.) Be still and know that I am God. Love, Love, LOVE this verse, although I will admit that for a CDQ like me, this is not easy, but then maybe it's not easy for anybody, I don't know.

    You said: "Finally, remember that we can only surrender to God's plan if we are still and listen to his plan. Does that mean once a day? Or does that surrender occur 24/7?"

    Amen and amen, my friend, which is why I took a sabbatical two years ago, to LISTEN to what God had to say about my career and my life, which much to my peace and joy, has pretty much has translated into surrender 24/7.

    5.) Per your question, the most difficult challenge for me is really focusing on what someone is saying, word by word. Not because I'm trying to think of what to say next so much, but because the old hard drive is a dinosaur that takes a while to compute. :)

    Great post, Tina!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Well, Julie. You have left me thinking. Must digest and the respond. Thinking, thinking, thinking.

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    2. "...surrender to God's plan...."



      This sounds so scary. It makes God seem like an enemy army. I see God's infinite number of plans to bring us home as a way we can choose to liberate our lives and find true peace.

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    3. LOL, Vince ... perhaps we should have said, "sweet surrender," eh?

      But if you think about it, for Christians converted a bit later in life like myself (mid-20s), who were embracing the world's values instead of God's, God IS an enemy in their eyes, or at least He was in mine. And since I am still in the world (although embracing God's values), there's always that bit of the flesh that battles for its own way over Gods, thereby putting us in direct opposition to God, at least from the fleshly perspective. Mind you, God never changes in His love and desire to bless us, so He is truly not the enemy nor ever has been. But we all know that the world's perspective is badly skewed, so from their viewpoint, He sometime is. Not sure if that made sense or not, and of course, it doesn't really matter. :)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  24. Hi Tina Just FYI, I always feel 'Heard' in Seekerville, but listening is so much more productive. I learn so much here and my ability to ask questions and have them actually answered is invaluable. That is why I have such respect for the Seekers! Listening to my characters - still working on that one. I tend to tell them the way it should be and expect them to obey. They surprise me sometimes, though!

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    1. I agree, Cindy. It is so hard to be a plotter in a pantser's body. Sure I can tell those characters what to do, but by chapter five..EVERY SINGLE TIME IT'S CHAPTER FIVE..they are telling me what to do.

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  25. Tina! Oh my goodness, this really spoke to me today! I get so tired of all the noise online--and yet I feel guilty if I don't check in on FB for ages or don't reply to tweets.

    I need to get better at sitting in silence and listening to my characters. Thanks for the quotes and these reminders. I'm definitely an introvert and need to protect that. I also need to honor others by learning to listen better.

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    1. Missy, I find myself unplugging for brief periods, too. Too much FB, especially, wears me out. I LOVE people, but I've learned I'm more productive when I pop off and on versus staying on all day long. And when folks feel the need to berate, shame, or laugh at others? Absolutely no tolerance for that.

      Say NO to guilt, Missy! LET IT GO!!!!!! Sing it with me!!!!!!! Lol

      Delete
    2. I'm trying to stay off FB on the weekend if possible. A little fasting is good for my introverted soul.

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    3. Cynthia, I'm singing with you! LOL!

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  26. Tina, I loved every single word of this post. Just . . . thank you!

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  27. Tina, occasionally I still go lay down on my patio furniture and watch the clouds or the buzzards circle high in the sky. It's peaceful until the mosquitos come out.

    There's probation officer who gave a sermon the other day about listening. He was saying that if someone was upset, 90% of the time they just want someone to hear them. He tries to do that. (Actually he said something about them emotional vomiting over his desk... a little descriptive...)

    I wished they'd speak louder.



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    1. Yeah, that emotional vomit can be tough. But I agree, most of the time people just want to be heard and acknowledged...not fixed.

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    2. Hi Connie:

      I'm with that probation officer. People want to be listened to because they seek respect and approval. I've meet thousands of people giving seminars and this approach always worked miracles for me.

      When a person came up to talk to me, I would always say to myself: 'I approve of this person' and I'd try to feel it. My body language spoke approval and welcome before I said a word. This was not acting. This was not false praise to win them over. This was subconscious approval.

      I would also pay strict attention to what they told me. Then the first words out of my mouth were about something that I could only have mentioned if I had listened to what they were telling me.

      After that they were open and warm. This approach is super powerful if you are a sales person. I know this works. It always worked!

      Vince

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  28. I love this post because it's absolutely true. And sometimes if you just listen to people they run out of things to say. That can make for an awkward phone conversation.
    I crave the early morning predawn hours before anything has polluted my mind- you know- before anyone is out of bed except me. I've always used that time for prayer but lately I wake up wanting to work on a story. That produces a certain amount of anxiety because once my quiet time is used up I can't reproduce it until the next morning after my mind has rested for the night.

    I'm also amazed at my daughter who works through her college papers (and gets great grades) with her ear phones on listening to music- not peaceful classical but full blown pieces with lyrics. How does she do that?

    But one of my favorite times for listening is when I'm feeding or grooming the horses. They're pretty communicative. All goes well until their pecking order begins to shuffle.

    I think I'm going to purchase the noise cancelling ear phones Tina suggested.

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    1. Oh, Barbara, you brought back some sweet horse memories for me! It's been over 11 years since I've had the chance to spend time with horses. I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I miss them.

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    2. This is why naps work so well, Barbara. I use the clean slate method. After each project done during the day I take a 20 minute nap. I may not sleep but I clean the slate. Then I am ready for the next project.

      Delete
    3. Aww Myra if you were in Missouri I'd love for you to hang out with these equine characters and make up for lost time.
      Tina-Naps! I've heard of those. I'll give it a try or maybe a drive in the country. I like the idea of blanking the page

      Delete
  29. TINA, let's see. Where to begin? I LOVE this post. SO nailed it.

    I like my quiet time. I also enjoy engaging, but when someone dominates or hijacks an entire conversation? That, to me, is a big turn-off. Often, I watch how others react to Noisy Neds (or Nellies) and it's quite telling -- total shift in body language and eyes scanning for the nearest exit.

    I find there's a lot of "noise" online. (Um... *coughs* Recent election.)

    It can be overwhelming at times. For authors, I think an active social media presence is smart WHEN kept in proper perspective. Authors can't be everywhere at once, and I don't think they should be -- I mean, when do they write??????????

    Anyway, back to listening. My husband often teases me that I have an invisible bull's-eye on my forehead (one that screams, "Talk to me! I want to know your life story!) Sometimes, I think he's right. Except last week...when in the frozen food aisle and a shopper started telling me all about her toe fungus and she couldn't decide what to make for dinner in light of her pastor coming to visit. I mean, THAT was a story I could have done without. I could barely select the chocolate ice cream I came for...but I soldiered on! :-)

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    1. LOL, oh my gosh. Sophia Dembling, and that link to Psychology Today. SHE SAYS THE SAME THING.

      ""It's like you have a sign on you that says, ‘Tell me about it,'" my husband has marveled.

      Something about me attracts people with a lot to say."

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    2. Lol Wellll...he's right! hahaha

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  30. Good morning Tina. I love, love, love this post. Listening is truly a lost art and so important. Actually I've finally learned to be a good listener myself. Not that I do that great, but I've learned these past few years how rewarding it is. I used to be so like the person you mentioned who has to bring in their own experiences. LOL. Like who cares? But listening to others has been so fun and interesting.

    And the verse "Be still and know that I am God" is my mantra these days. I do so much better when I listen to HIM. smilek

    Thanks for reminding us and I'll take a croissant and coffee please.

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  31. PS we are in the Valley today. Thanks for cooling it off-smile. Have doctor appointments this morning. Minor stuff, but had to come into town.

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    1. Isn't it wonderful? Light rain. Seventies.Today is heaven.

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    2. It was pouring down rain in Verde Valley.

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    3. Hi Sandra: Maybe that's why it's Verde. : )

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  32. Bose earphones are wonderful, esp when hubby has tv on.

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  33. This is exactly me. It's a deep truth. And I'm sorry.

    "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." --Stephen R. Covey

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    1. Well it's never too late to change. LOLOL. Are you listening?

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    2. I probably have ear phones on. And not to listen to music, just so I don't accidentally answer the phone...

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  34. Tina, thank you for the encouragement to be quiet and really listen. I remember lying in the grass, studying the shape of the clouds, just being. I want more of that! During my time with God, I need to listen more and talk less.

    It's a blessing to truly communicate with another human being. Yet I've been guilty of thinking about something else while someone is speaking, usually my DH. At some point I'll realize I have no idea what was said. I'm going to change, starting today.

    Janet

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    1. Well of course I have been guilty of the same thing or I could not have written this post. But once you hear the message...especially the Richard Carlson one..you catch yourself.

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    2. I couldn't go out to the Carlson site. Will try copying and pasting it.

      Janet

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    3. Yes, all well and good, but consider this: "Selective hearing has saved many a marriage."

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    4. http://a.co/4PJF54m Here you go, Janet.

      Vince, you are soooo right.

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  35. The best times for me to be still and listen are at the beach, in the mountains, or on a daily basis- in the morning before my kids wake up ;)
    I also find that when I'm reading scriptures, my mind can start to open and I feel more able to listen to the Spirit. It's like getting in tune.
    I struggle when the TV or media stay on too long, when the kids are fighting, or when I'm stressed about what to cook for dinner. Afternoons can be hectic, I think that's why starting the day off on the right foot is so important. I definitely notice the difference when I don't get that peaceful solitude.
    Thanks for the fun giveaway! I love Austen and totes <3

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    1. The beach! The beach. Is there anything better than the sound of water lapping on the shore. Are you near the beach, Heidi?

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    2. For me, the only thing better than the beach is a Colorado mountain stream. Sitting on a big rock, warming myself in the sun and listening to the hummingbirds whiz by. That's my happy spot. (I sooooooo miss Colorado...)

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    3. Did someone mention the beach? I'm so there! I don't even read when I'm at the beach. I sit and watch the water...or play IN the water...listen to the sound of the waves and receive all the beauty God wants to shower down upon me. I'm ready for a beach trip...

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    4. This little indented place is like a mini-vacation. Beach and mountains. Waves and wind in the trees. I'm listening. :)

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    5. LOLOL. HI THERE DANA!!! Sharing my beach with you.

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  36. Awesome post, Tina!

    Being an introverted extrovert, and having a hearing disability forces me to listen even closer to conversations around me, but my one fault (on the list of many) is that I am an interrupter. I claim it, I own it.

    Being raised in the "children should be seen, and not heard" generation also contribute to my listening and observation talents. I'm also an excellent lip-reader!

    If I could only break that interrupting habit!

    I do close my eyes and try to listen to what my characters are trying to say. Writing dialogue is a problem area for me in my writing. I've read many a book on it, but it still flummoxes me. My other half watches the TV with closed-captioning, so the only voices I hear all day are the ones I listen to on my computer. No noise-cancelling headphones needed in this house!

    Please put my name in for the drawings...thanks!

    I agree with Cindy...I always feel "heard" on Seekerville...God bless you all.

    Marcia

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  37. Marcia! Thank you for the lovely comments. I am a lip reader too.

    Dialogue issues. Must think on that one. I write dialogue heavy so that's a hard one to wrap my brain around. Let me think on that one.

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    1. I've read almost all of the SV articles on dialogue...very helpful, especially Ruthy's on matching dialogue with characters.

      Marcia

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  38. Tina, I'm blown away by this post. So much truth here it's going to take some time to digest it all. I must look up that Jennie Crusie book too! I'm an introverted extrovert, married to an introvert. It took awhile to get our rhythms right, but now we both crave silence and quiet. I used to be able to write with music on, even lyrics, but those days are gone. I think my brain needs the quiet to focus. I especially liked your comment about listening to our characters to tell their story! It's too easy to try and boss them around and then wonder why we've written ourselves in to a corner. I'd love to be in the draw for either item you've generously brought today. Thanks for sharing this important topic with us!

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    1. It's a Jenny Crusie article. Free so that will help. You are in the drawing.

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  39. A convicting post Tina. A very good reminder about sitting still and listening. When I have something to share, I tend to get itchy feet waiting for the person to stop talking so I can have my say. Need to stop that.
    I'm not as swamped by media as some because of my job. I work in a building where cell-phones and portable electronic media are verboten. Special terminals for internet access (thank goodness I can get my daily Seekerville fix - it's my only internet must have... well, except on weekends - I seem to never get online on the weekends for some reason).
    I'm pretty used to the isolation. Took me forever to get a smart phone because I just use my cell to call people - why do I need the other stuff? Okay, taking pictures is another thing but after that? Not sure what to do.

    Still, I know I need to listen better. Like Vince said, two ears - one mouth. Listen twice as much as talk. I've told that to Guppy more than a few times. He's a little guy who is so afraid of missing out on something. I think he and I will go on a cloud search this evening after homework. Got the perfect blanket for sky gazing.
    Thanks for this wonderful post, Tina. I needed it.

    oh, and please put my name in the draw...

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    1. Yes! You and Guppy cloud searching. Love this.

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  40. p.s. love the word for the day: bloviate

    the counter to listening

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  41. Tina, such a great post. Yes, I was one of those who laid in the grass and looked up at the sky, searching for cloud animals. :)

    I find it the most difficult to listen well when I'm tired and when there's too much going on. As I read your post, I thought about all the times I cut my boys off mid-sentence over the past few weeks. I might be hanging my head at that admission. They will only learn to listen well if they are listened to. Sigh.

    I laughed out loud when I read the quote from The Perils of Listening Well. Thanks for such a great post, Tina. You've given me some good food for thought.

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    1. And I forgot to mention, please enter me in the drawing! I love the bag. And maybe if I hang the door hanger on the outside of my door, my boys will read and heed. ;)

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    2. Well, Jeanne T, I am grateful you are not perfect. Nearly so. You are an amazing mom. Never fear.

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    3. And you are sweet. :) Sleep tight!

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  42. TINA, thank you for the awesome post! I have a tendency to tune out the noise and non-essentials that surround me. I don't like chatter.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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  43. I'm busy listening and enjoying the quiet. Have a good day!

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    1. hehehe! Bettie! Waving quietly at you.

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  44. Excellent post, Tina! Seekerville is definitely a special place because we feel heard....and understood....even without added comments. Thank you!

    I will guard my introverted self. When I have too much to do, my mind gets cluttered with self noise, and I'm distracted. I will work on those quiet times....to just listen.

    This past month, I've had two trips where cell phone service was unavailable for LONG periods of time...first a long distance train trip, then a road/camping trip. I was surprised at my uncomfortable reaction to being out of touch. Partly I enjoyed being disconnected, but I would check too often to see if I had cell service. An interesting reflection for an introvert.

    I've been told I'm a good listener, but I need to also be quiet and listen to "the work and the characters." I need to make more time for just listening, quieting the distracting noise. Thank you, Tina! (So glad there are some chocolate croissants left. Yum!)

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    1. It's a technology addiction, I tell you. We are all becoming Pavlov's dogs with cell phones.

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  45. Tina, thanks for this beautiful post. Listening and having a real conversation has almost become a thing of the past.

    I suppose listening would be also listening to the critiques of your wip and not jumping in response to their criticism of our baby but allowing their suggestions to sink in so we can apply what is needed and ignore what is not.

    Sometimes it is best to just ignore those moments when someone is on a rant, because anything you say will not be helpful to them or you.

    The Chocolate croissants sounds wonderful

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    1. I find it's best to ignore RANTERS, period. :)

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  46. What a thought-provoking post. I'm blessed to be married to a man who listens twice as much as he talks (Something I'm still working on) and to have friends who are incredible listeners. They've taught me so much about taking it in without rushing to a response.

    A part of me always wants to help, to give advice or say something that will be someone else's lightbulb moment but often times, people just want to be heard.

    I leave my phone in my purse instead of having it by my side all the time. The TV doesn't come on usually until after dinner, (unless I'm letting my 4 year old watch cartoons) and I don't put the radio on unless I need a dance or praise break. The silence is beautiful. I also love to drive without any radio on and use that time to talk to God. Thank God for bluetooth. People don't think I'm crazy, just talking on the phone.

    One of the best weeks of my life was when my husband and I took our boys to a small cottage on a lake in my father's hometown. There was no cell coverage, no WiFi, no TV. We canoed, rode bikes, read, played board games, told stories around the fire and every night I fell asleep to loon calls. It was glorious and I wish I could do that every few months. I came back feeling more refreshed, happy, and peaceful than I'd been in a long, long time.

    And the patisserie in town had the most amazing pain au chocolat! 🥐🥐

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    1. Don't torture me. I love pain au chocolate.

      Ah, no cell service. My idea of heaven.

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  47. Lovely post, Tina. You always give us something fresh.

    I'm just over the line into the extrovert side. So I need people, but I also need quiet time. I rarely have outside noise on in the daytime. No radio. No TV. Love the quiet. Also love spending time at church when few others are there to sit with God in the quiet. That time away refreshes my soul.

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    1. You are a quiet extrovert Debby. There is always peace radiating from you.

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    2. You say the nicest things, Tina! Hugs!

      May I send pain au chocolat?

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    3. You have my address? Send away. Although best to wait for winter. 100 degrees here.

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  48. Are there any other introvert/extroverts out there?

    I can chit chat with the best of them but I'm also such a recluse.

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    1. "Are there any other introvert/extroverts out there?'

      Hi Josee:
      I'm sure I am one but I choose to use the term 'mesovert'. That's being in the middle of the spectrum. The benefit here is that the mesovert can be whatever the current situtation calls for. Besides, I think a good philosopher needs to be both and that leads to being a 'mesovert'.

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    2. *Raises hand* Yes. Me.

      I've spent years telling people I'm an extroverted introvert. Then, about six months ago, I discovered the term 'ambivert'. Merriam-Webster defines 'ambivert' as a person having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert. Yep. That's me.

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  49. A real problem with getting people to listen is that most people won't talk about what interest their listeners but would rather talk about themselves and what interest them. This is particularly true of when others want to 'blow their own horn'. I'm always amazed that people listen as much as they do!

    I fear Covey is too cynical by half.

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    1. Everyone wants to talk about themselves. That's the secret of a perfect first date. Get a guy to talk about himself. He'll be hooked.

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  50. I find that introverts spend more time on social media. I sometimes have to force myself to comment. Seems the very introverted are able to express themselves without the fatigue that comes from being in a face-to-face group. The true extroverts are spending that time with people and not on the internet.

    Has anyone noticed this? Am I wrong?

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  51. Since I'm extrovert light, I enjoy going to a crowded restaurant so I'm "with" people. But I con't need to sit and interact with people...except hubby, of course. The gathering of people can be around me and provide the social aspect that I enjoy.

    So, introverts, do you like quiet restaurants? Or do you also seek crowded spots?

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    1. Gatherings of people are painful for me. Painful.

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    2. Debby, gatherings of more than one person drain me :-) I have to recharge. Many people love the vitality and busy-ness of cities, for example -- I just want to get away. Fast.

      That said, I appreciate that some people love cities and have created wonderful places I can visit. They have my heartfelt gratitude.

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    3. So quiet restaurants or a night at home for introverts, right?

      Thanks, ladies.

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  52. Tina, I sometimes catch myself not really listening when someone is talking. After they have talked a while, I find myself trying to remember something they said. I am trying to be more conscious of that. Also, I really enjoy coming home from a day of substitute teaching and sitting in my favorite chair in complete silence. Sometimes I enjoy listening to music, but there is something to be said for just sitting in silence.

    I have the writer's door hanger but would love to be entered for the tote bag.

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    1. You are entered Sandy. AND I SO HEAR YOU!!!

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  53. Thank you for such a thought-provoking post, Tina. This makes me want to be a better listener. I'm often silent, soaking in my surroundings, but I'm not sure I'm truly listening as I should when others are talking. Much to think about here.

    Btw, I am an introvert who learned to fake being an extrovert while working for newspapers. Although it doesn't come easily for me. There's an episode of the television show Frasier where he's hosting a social gathering and Niles explains that his wife, Maris, has disappeared because she "became exhausted from the pressure to be interesting" to other guests. She had fallen asleep (and guests threw their coats on her). I identify. LOL. I even get physically tired from being "on" when I do posts on my author FB page. So much runs through my mind. What to post? When to post? Why did I say that? Why would anyone care what I say when I don't have a book published yet? Yikes. I'd much rather hide away and write :-) Thanks again for such an interesting post!

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    1. Oh, my gosh I love that episode. Last writer's group I spoke to in April, I had so much fun and came home and was paralyzed for a whole day. And yet, I am doing it again tonight. Speaking. PRAY FOR ME!

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    2. Praying, Tina! You're moving into the extrovert world. I doubt you will stay long, but your audience will love you, as well they should!

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    3. Frasier! I loved that show. I miss seeing the graphic at the start of the show - the Space Needle or fireworks or other. One thing I remember about Frasier was they often had a guest caller and it would always be fun to listen and see if my husband or I would recognize the voice.

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  54. Tina, as I've ruminated about this post today I have come to a realization. When I wrote non-fiction and did interviews, I was a keen listener. From now on when someone is speaking, I just need to pretend I am interviewing them!

    Wish me luck, ok?

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    1. It's really a skill-set that we have to be aware of.

      Delete
    2. Chill N, I was the same way! I definitely had to listen when I was writing for newspapers (especially in situation like council and commissioner's meetings) and now that I'm writing fiction, not so much. I'm still just as interested in people, but now when they're talking I'm often trying to figure out how to describe them, or trying to read their body language, or wondering if I should ask about their deepest fears, LOL. All in the name of research, of course.

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    3. I hear you, Laura :-)

      Nancy C

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  55. Pet Peeves Anyone?

    1. Speakers who start talking to you without first getting your attention.

    Example: I'm in my home office listening to music at low volume. Someone five rooms away at the other end of the house starts talking to me. They are halfway into their second sentence before I even realize someone is trying to talk to me.

    When I call loudly back that I can't hear what they are saying they get upset that I just don't listen. They want me to get up and run down to the kitchen where I can hear what they are saying.

    Now if that is how much they respect who they are speaking to, then I don't think they deserve to be listened to in the first place.

    2. People who don't listen to you when you tell them you can't talk long as you are off to a doctor's appointment. They then ignore every mention that you must be going. This is not listening to the point of disrespect.

    2a. People who must talk at least an hour on each phone call. They know every trick in the book to keep the conversation going until they have talked their quota. I call them the 'long talkers.'

    2b. People who call and if they get your recording will never leave a message because they don't want you calling them at an incontinent time; however, when they 'got you' they do expect you to listen to them for an hour whether it is a good time or not for you to talk.

    Tina: You can tell this is a very, very, rich topic you've chosen today. Brava!

    Vince

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    1. YOU CRACK ME UP!. SOMEONE???hahahahaha

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  56. This was sooo good for me! I am definitely an introvert who has to act like an extrovert at work (receptionist/secretary at a school) and at church (preacher's wife). I come home and love being quiet. I don't even listen to the radio anymore. I am a good listener which can be a downfall because I can't get work done because everyone at work- from the custodians to the principal- come to me to talk. I've though about putting up a sign on my desk saying "Therapist is off duty!"

    I'm going to get that book...Introverts in an Extrovert World...or whatever it was called. Ha. I guess I didn't "listen" well enough!

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    1. LOL. Why is it everyone flocks to introverts to talk to? Because WE LISTEN!

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  57. Vince makes some excellent points. Another one is someone starts talking to me and then walks away, into another room perhaps, expecting me to somehow still LISTEN/HEAR.

    I'm not the best listener to begin with.

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  58. However, back to the main topic at hand... I'm ALL OVER having peace and quiet, climbing into my cocoon and listening to my characters. Sure, there are times when I have to produce words with distractions, but during the rewrite phase, I need some real quality/quiet time ... just me and them. :)

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  59. I've actually never lain on the grass while staring up at the sky as a child. I could hardly sit for extended periods of time on the grass. All I could think about were bugs crawling on me.

    My listening skills are woefully lacking.
    Often I find that when I am in a conversation with someone, if I become disinterested, I begin to drown the person out to a background noise, (I've had a lot of practice, I have four younger brothers and one of them can talk A LOT, mostly about the most nonsensical things). Or there are other instances where I will grow distracted with a thought and the next thing I know the person is concluding their story, and I'm thinking, 'I didn't hear a word you said' and 'man how long was I spaced out there'.

    Very interesting post.

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    1. And Pam. I hear you. Today struggling for peace.

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  60. Your post reminds me of my freshman year of college, all the girls came to me with their problems. I didn't give them solutions and I often wondered why they came to me. At the end of the year so many thanked me for listening to them. That's when the light bulb went on for me.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  61. Tina, Another wonderful post! Thank you. This week in Sunday school, a fellow classmate brought up FOMO, and that was the first time I'd ever heard of the Fear of Missing Out and then I read your post! When two people talk about the same thing in one week, I know it's time to listen!

    I'm deaf in one ear so I do have to concentrate on listening, but you're absolutely right. When I concentrate on listening and don't think about how I'm going to respond, my stress level goes down and enjoyment of the conversation goes up.

    One last thing. It's always hard, though, when three of my children are talking at once, but that's another thread altogether :)

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  62. Oh, wait. One more comment from me. I know this will seem like an oxymoron, but one of the quietest places I've been lately is my daughter's college campus. It's a small college, and when it's not orientation or drop-off, it's very quiet and peaceful. I tell my daughter I'm coming to visit just to enjoy the peace and quiet.

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    1. FOMO. Love it. And hate it.

      I love quiet places. Gardens. Porches. Libraries aren't quiet anymore.

      Delete
  63. Wow... you pulled me back out of Lurkerville with this one, Tina.

    This spoke right to my silence-loving, intellectual argument-winning, introverted let-me-cloister-away heart.

    I love this so much.

    The big one for me is powering down. Sometimes I feel like the Grinch stamping my foot at the "noise noise Noise NOISE!" At the end of the day I am so exhuasted from the beeps and TV shows and social media and, just, NOISE.

    But that's life with two toddlers and the most extroverted husband ever...

    "Be still an know that I am God." He draws me back to this one a lot. Not only do I try to preempt arguments and conversations with other people, I often do that with God himself. The audacity!

    So, I am going to take your advice and focus on listening. Really listen to understand my 3-year-old's endless nonsense stories, my 1-year-old's grunts and whines and giggles, my end-of-the-work-day tired husband, the stranger in line behind me at the market (eek... other people! *panic attack*), and most of all, the still, small voice of the Spirit indwelling me.

    Thank you for the gentle and heart-felt reminder today!

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    1. Megan Brummer, ice cream gal! How ARE YOU??

      Sometimes I have to get up in the middle of the night. 3 am is perfect to find the quiet and that still small voice.

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  64. You stepped on my toes with this one, Tina. Thank you. I really needed this! I've printed out a copy to reread later.

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  65. An excellent reminder in this day and age. Even when I'm writing I prefer to have some form of music playing, lately classical. Allowing silence seems like a lost art. I definitely struggle with the check-your-phone syndrome. The immediate gratification is actually anything but. It's more like an intrusion. My prayer is that I'd waste less time on social media and phone-checking.

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    1. Bria, welcome to Seekerville. I cringed when you mentioned phone. First thing I do is check it when I get up in the morning. Bad, bad, habit.

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  66. I'm a day behind *sigh* but wanted to say THANKS, TINA for this wonderful post. Listening is so very very important - - and with our age of instant technology it seems to be needed even more!
    At certain times of the day my front porch is actually a quiet, peaceful place and I LOVE being out there and hearing nothing but the birds chirping. :) (Sadly it's not that quiet all the time - - as nearby traffic starts roaring and dogs begin barking) But when it's peaceful it is lovely!

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    1. I long for a front porch again, Patti Jo. Seriously, one of my deal breakers with a house.

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  67. Excellent post, Tina. I need to read this often. My concentration levels have gone down since I've gotten older, and I need to focus more on what others are saying.

    I love quiet times. I find it relaxing to sit on my porch swing in the evening and read or just enjoy the scenery.

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  68. Excellent post, Tina. I need to read this often. My concentration levels have gone down since I've gotten older, and I need to focus more on what others are saying.

    I love quiet times. I find it relaxing to sit on my porch swing in the evening and read or just enjoy the scenery.

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  69. Listening....thinking. It can be easy to avoid...but don't. While things are going well, take time to think and listen and look at clouds and enjoy the quiet time. By taking time to think and reflect, you may just find ways to enjoy life even more. <3

    Please put my name in the hat for the giveaway. I could use a new tote bag for my library books - and this one is especially cute - teal, peacock, and P&P - all favorites! :)

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  70. Meg, you are in the draw. Looks like you already went to the peaceful place, by the looks of your palm trees in your profile pic.

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  71. Thanks Tina for a great post. My life is so hectic right now that I haven't visited Seekerville since last Saturday! I need this reminder to slow down and listen to God's sounds in both nature and in His speaking to my heart!
    I would love to be in the drawing for either gift!
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  72. I am an extrovert, and I've always struggled with listening to others versus jabbering away to anyone who would listen to me! I remember when I was about 8, my Sunday School teacher gave me a gift with a little card in it. In the card she wrote a scripture that I have kept close to my heart over the years: "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. --Proverbs 31:26" I believe she was gently trying to tell me to think before I speak and don't just say whatever pops in my head. :)
    Thank you for the opportunity for the drawing. I would be pleased to win either, but I will tell you that Pride and Prejudice is my favorite classic. ;)
    Thanks Tina for another thought-provoking article!

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