DOVE NOTE #11: Listen & Pay Attention

(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

Once again I realize the wisdom of asking questions and discussing specific topics with my female friends. To say that women are complex would be an understatement. But their complexity is more easily understood if I take one aspect at a time and study it to find out exactly (or at least to the best of my biased male ability) how it functions.

In a recent conversation with a dear female friend of mine, she began to stress the importance of a man’s ability to “listen” and “pay attention“. I smiled while asking her, “Isn’t that the same thing?” (I knew they weren’t, but sometimes I like to goad her). She scoffed and said, “No, they are two very different and very important qualities I look for in a man.” Now on the surface this may seem like a relatively easy thing to do. Of course you can listen… of course you can pay attention… right?? But you have to look deeper and realize how women define these terms. Because unless you’re operating with a keen understanding of how women perceive things (which most men don’t)… you could actually wind up with the opposite results.

LISTENING: It does not refer to idly shaking your head while she rambles on and on about the high price of no-run pantyhose. It does not mean that your face maintains a look of impatience while waiting for your opportunity to speak. It does refer to you being an active participant in the conversation. This is demonstrated by your ability (and level of skill) to interject your thoughts and opinions based on what she has said. It does mean that when she makes a comment or suggestion, you consider and acknowledge it by your actions as well as your words.

PAYING ATTENTION: It does not mean that your eyes pop out because you notice how her new jeans look as if they were painted on. It also does not mean that you comment on her new hair color AFTER she mentioned to you that she had it done (definitely a bad move, you get no points. Depending on how long it took you to comment, you may even have points deducted.) with a simple “Oh yeah… um… cute”. It does mean that in conjunction with listening for instance, you’re able to determine her likes and/or dislikes and might then surprise her with a gesture or gift that she didn’t expect (or necessarily ask for), but rather was implied through conversations you’ve had with her. It also refers to recognizing and appreciating any effort she puts forth for your benefit, as opposed to taking her selfless nature for granted.

Sometimes we view things as complex, only to find out how very simple they are once we comprehend them better… women are a prime example of this. And so I encourage further in-depth research.

Categories: Dove Note, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “DOVE NOTE #11: Listen & Pay Attention

  1. sunnydelyte21

    Indeed…listening and paying attention are two different things!! LOL

    I remember one time in a relationship I was in for about 3 years, he brought me one gift. I remember this not because it was the first gift he gave me ever, but it was what he got me. A DVD…yes a DVD of my favorite rap group greatest videos.. I still have it and I cherish it. He didn’t like them but knew how much I did…so thats where it showed me he was using his listening ears.

    • Wow, you’ve pretty much summed up my point with your comment. Even though that relationship is over, you still cherish that DVD because it represents more than just a gift, it represents acknowledging you as a unique person with individual tastes. I believe that more relationships would thrive if that listening became as important as talking. lol

  2. I have a case-in-point as well: My husband, early-on in our premarital relationship, gave me one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received. It was a wooden box with fold-out trays that held paints, colored pencils, pastels, etc. The reason I loved it was I knew he’d noticed I like to play around with art (not an artist, more like a developed doodler) and it was something NO ONE ELSE would ever have thought to give me. That was about ten years ago. He was definitely paying attention!

    I think women are often just as guilty in this particular area of relationships. We SAY we want our men to talk and share their thoughts with us, but do we really listen and pay attention? When he begins rambling on about the difference between speaker brand A and speaker brand B, do we tune out or do we take note so we at least know where to get the gift card? It’s a challenge to master, for certain.

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