Quotations about:
    listening


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Take care never to speak what you have not weighed and pondered beforehand; nor interject your own words on the spur of the moment and in the midst of another’s; for you must listen and converse in turn, with set times for speech and for silence.

Clement Alexandrin
Clement of Alexandria (c. AD 150 - c. 215 ) Christian theologian, philosopher, Church Father [Κλήμης ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς, Titus Flavius Clemens]
“To the Newly Baptized / Exhortation to Endurance” [tr. Butterworth]
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Added on 13-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) American writer [Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald]
(Attributed)

No actual citation found. Also often attributed (also without citation) to Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
 
Added on 21-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Nobody really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you’ll see why.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 3 (1966)
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Added on 20-Jan-22 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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Women are good listeners, but it’s a waste of time telling your troubles to a man unless there is something specific you want him to do.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 3 (1963)
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Added on 18-Nov-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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To a talkative fellow, who poured out a torrent of words and then said, “Let’s hope I haven’t been boring you with my chatter!” he replied, “No, by Zeus, I haven’t been listening.”

[πρὸς τὸν εἰπόντα ἀδολέσχην, ἐπειδὴ αὐτοῦ πολλὰ κατήντλησε, “μήτι σου κατεφλυάρησα;” “μὰ Δί᾽,” εἶπεν: “οὐ γάρ σοι προσεῖχον.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 11 [tr. Mensch (2018)]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

A chattering fellow, who had been abusing him, said to him, “Have not I been jeering you properly?” “Not that I know of,” said he, “for I have not been listening to you.”
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

To the chatterbox who poured out a flood of talk upon him and then inquired, "Have I bored you to death with my chatter?" he replied, "No, indeed; for I was not attending to you."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 20]

To the man talking endlessly when he assailed him with words and asked “Have I worn you out with nonsense”, he said “By Zeus, no! I wasn’t listening to you.”
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

 
Added on 14-Sep-21 | Last updated 14-Sep-21
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Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.

André Gide (1869-1951) French author, Nobel laureate
Treatise on Narcissus [Le Traité du Narcisse] (1891)
 
Added on 10-Aug-21 | Last updated 10-Aug-21
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Not listening is probably the commonest unkindness of married life, and one that creates — more devastatingly than an eternity of forgotten birthdays and misguided Christmas gifts — an atmosphere of not loving and not caring.

Judith Viorst (b. 1931) American writer, journalist, psychoanalysis researcher
Yes, Married (1972)
 
Added on 27-Jan-21 | Last updated 27-Jan-21
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A friend is someone who listens to your bullshit, tells you that it is bullshit, and listens some more.

Robin Williams (1951-2014) American comedian and actor
(Attributed)
 
Added on 7-Dec-20 | Last updated 7-Dec-20
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I have accustomed myself to receive with respect the opinions of others, but always take the responsibility of deciding for myself.

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) American politician, general, US President (1829-1837)
(Attributed)

Quoted by John F. Kennedy in the foreword to T. Sorensen, Decision-Making in the White House: The Olive Branch or the Arrows (1963)
 
Added on 13-Nov-18 | Last updated 13-Nov-18
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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Leo Buscaglia (1925-1998) American psychologist, writer
Born For Love: Reflections on Loving (1992)
 
Added on 12-Apr-16 | Last updated 12-Apr-16
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As a matter of fact, have you never noticed that most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness?

Margaret Millar (1915-1994) American-Canadian mystery and suspense writer
The Weak-Eyed Bat (1942)

Often attributed to Mark Twain, usually as "Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses." See here for more details.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Apr-14
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Let us be silent, — so we may hear the whisper of the gods.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Friendship,” Essays: First Series (1841)

Sometimes misquoted as "whispers of the gods."
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Feb-22
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