Listening to others is exigent especially if one is being bombarded by his/her own issues. It takes discipline plus the aptitude for one to let go of his/her own thoughts, in order to grasp whatever is being said.
I plead guilty of partially listening to others occasionally. It is not until recently that I embarked on building the patience to listen without interrupting, either with my own thoughts and/or opinions.
In the world today where everything appears to be happening at once, no one seems to have the time to listen to anyone. Moreover conversations can be very entertaining if not positively informative. When we don’t listen to others, we do not only miss out on the beauty of the moment, but also divulge an ambiance of contempt for others.
There are friends I have spoken to on a number of occasions, only to learn that I was basically talking to myself. This was normally revealed when I asked a question; and the “listener” said something that wasn’t related to what I was saying.
You could also tell that someone is not listening if he/she continues shaking his/her head in agreement even when you ask a question. He/she could smile throughout your conversation regardless of what you are saying. However, when you are done with your speech, he/she might ask a question to which you have already provided an answer. Others change the subject immediately and/or start talking about something different. Ironically, they then demand for your undivided attention.
Listening is a great attribute that we should all embrace in our mannerisms. A good listener is normally empathetic, patient, non-judgmental and attentive throughout the conversation. He/she asks relevant questions, engages with the speaker by looking straight in his/her eyes, and avoids interruptions except if asked to comment. An excellent listener also goes beyond the norm by summarizing the significant points, and then repeating them to speaker at the end of the conversation.
Although at times you may feel reluctant to listen to what someone has to say, it is wiser to avoid the situation rather than wasting your time pretending to listen, yet exposing yourself to harassment.