There are people who listen and people who don’t, and then there are the folks who listen and say, “Yes, but…”. I vote to kick them out of the listeners’ group. It feels like tires spinning on an icy road, there is no traction. You say something, and they don’t disagree, instead they slant the conversation by comparing what you said with something bigger, better or often, someone worse off. An observant friend commented that even “No, but…” is a more engaging comment, at least they are tracking with you and have something to add.
In any case, you don’t feel listened to and it’s hard to return to the original point. Sometimes the slant is spoken casually, and sometimes with passion because there is hot spot in the topic for the listener.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if the listener would wave a flag?
This topic = Fireworks!!
I’d like to suggest universal speaking and listening etiquette:
1. Speaker: states topic, opinion or idea without interruption, for up to 3 minutes. (I’ve read where most people can’t listen for more than 17 seconds without interrupting; well my family has broken that record, easily).
2. Listener: summarizes what is said before changing the topic or even asking a follow-up question.
3. Speaker: ‘thanks for listening’ – acknowledge the time/energy spent caring about your thoughts or feelings, this is a gift.