the art of listening

people have been surprising me lately.

(not that it’s surprising that i am surprised because let’s be serious, i’m constantly startled by people popping up in my office door, by my roommate rounding the corner, by typing in wicked.com instead of wickedthemusical.com. (seriously, don’t do it.) and i am the worst at googling things, so if i can ever actually find the information i started out searching for, it’s a minor miracle.)

ok, my point.

sometimes i’m so busy listening to others that i forget others are doing the same. it catches me off guard when someone reveals they were listening to me or reading my blog or paying attention to my tweets.

it’s easy to tell who’s listening when you’re in a conversation and a person pulls up facts previously discussed or someone leaves a comment on a blog post or someone replies to an email or someone @ replies you on a tweet, but it’s hard to quantify who’s paying attention when you don’t have time for an in-depth conversation or they don’t leave comments or they aren’t on twitter or they forget to reply to an email or life just gets in the way, as it is wont to do.

so you have to LISTEN for the random snippets.

like when my mom sent me an incredibly generous letter.

like when my grandfather said he heard i was researching netbooks. and wanted to know why. (i figured it’s time to redefine my writing. i don’t want it to be just a hobby. it’s a job and i need to treat it as such. and thusly, i need portable technology. yeah, yeah, netbooks are going out of style. hey, i’m still conducting researching here. any suggestions?) (also, is anyone out there available to give me a scrivener 101 class? it’s supposed to be intuitive, but me and technology? we don’t click. i need an outsider to hold my hand and walk me through the process before i’ll let technology take me out on an unchaperoned date.)

like when my godmother mentioned she’s read my blog and is that ok because that’s not stalking me is it? (for the record, nope, not stalking. READ ON, cindy.)

like when my dad asked about my new sport, squash. i hadn’t talked about it except on my blog. perhaps he read it there or perhaps my mom or sisters read it and mentioned it to him, but whatever it was, he remembered and asked me about it.

like when kelly breakey wrote this post for me. or, to be specific, about me. i was merely tweeting about my obsession with the darren criss/glee version of katy perry’s TEENAGE DREAM, which you should watch by the way. here you go:

she watched the video and caught the fever. and dedicated a post to it. it may seem silly to others, but it feels nice to be thanked. sometimes it only takes a quick comment or a short video or a hug or a phone call to crack open a bad day and let the sunshine spill in. she says i did that for her, but she returned the favor tenfold by writing that post.

basically i just wanted to say THANKS EVERYONE for listening to me. it is the nicest thing you could do (well, maybe you could bake me some cookies and mail them to me. that’d be swell. chocolate chip, please.), but more importantly, thanks for giving me a reason to love listening to you.

(you in the general sense. and, of course, YOU, yes, you right there, in particular.)

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12 Responses to “the art of listening”

  1. Linda G. Says:

    People like to listen to you because you listen back. Nice when it works out that way. :)

    Oh, and re the cookies: believe me, I’m doing you a kindness by NOT baking any for you. Trust me on this.

    • abby mumford Says:

      i’m LISTENING to what you’re saying and if you think i’m better off with store bought cookies than linda baked ones, so be it.

      *adds cookies to grocery list*

  2. Jeannie Moon Says:

    I agree with Linda. You are definitely intune with people and as a result they respond to you similarly. If they don’t, well, they’re missing out. Thanks for listening to me. I’ll always have an ear open to what you want to say.

  3. Kelly B Says:

    Your right it does feel good. When I saw the title of this post and clicked on it I had no idea I would have a starring role.

    I agree 100% with you. As a whole I think people are quick to bitch and complain but when something good happens we may stop and think, “Wow, Abbs, thanks for that pick me up, cuz you just don’t know how much I needed it” and never say anything.

    But when we do pay it forward, and that is what I was doing, it always comes back to surprise us in wonderful ways. That video, at that time, made me smile on a day when they were few and far between so I wanted to not only thank you for that, but to send it out to the cosmos in the hopes that it could do for others what it did for me.

    And if you really do want the cookies I am sure I can con…er…convince the hubs to make them for me. He is an awesome baker and makes truly fantastic chocolate chip cookies.

    Oh BTW, have a great day!

    • abby mumford Says:

      i think it’s equally important to pay kindness forward as it is to tell the person who paid you the kindness thanks. (so they can feel appreciated!)

      and i was slightly kidding about the cookies — though a chocolate chip cookie does sound good right now, even if it is only 9:30am. ha.

  4. Jennifer Says:

    Hi Abs! K and I enjoyed watching teenage dream…thanks for the link! I love Glee and it was fun to see this one again with k in my lap bopping to the music! You are a terrific listener and I have so appreciated all the listening you have done for me in the last few months…and I am always here to listen provided we can get our schedules to work so we are free to talk at the same time!!! Miss you! Can’t wait to see you next week!!!

    • abby mumford Says:

      baby mac was beebopping around to teenage dream?!!? that i HAVE to see.

      and we both need to stop being so busy so we can talk! good thing i’ll see you sooner than later.

  5. Cathy Mumford Says:

    Thank you for the link to Teenage Dream. I can’t hear it enough. Is that weird for a grandmother to admit?

    • abby mumford Says:

      i listened to it 3x on my way to work this morning. HA. apparently i can’t hear it enough either!

      like mother, like daughter.

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