Listening: Some Quotes–Serious and Humorous–On the Subject

Below are some wise quotes about listening:

Karl Menninger, psychiatrist: “…a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

Amy Bloom, writer and former therapist: “The gap between what people tell you and what’s really going on is what interests me.”

Fran Lebowitz, humorist: “The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.”

Mark Twain, writer: “Most conversations are monologues in the presence of witnesses.”

Robert McCloskey, author: “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

Anonymous: “My wife says I never listen to her. At least I think that’s what she said.”

Daniel Barenboim, musician: “In English you have this wonderful difference between listening and hearing, and that you can hear without listening, and you can listen and not hear.”

Franklin P. Jones, humorist: “One advantage of talking to yourself is that you know at least somebody’s listening.”

Rebecca Z. Shafir, author: “Listening intently even for a minute is one of the nicest gifts we can give to another human being.”

Mark Goulston, psychiatrist: “These elements of the Side-by-Side approach—asking questions during a shared moment, and then deepening the conversation with more questions—are as powerful as communication gets: so powerful that they form the core of the Socratic Method. Socrates never told anybody anything; he just walked around town with people asking them questions until they figured out the answers themselves, and in the process he helped create Western civilization.”

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