Most people listen for a reason.
We listen because we hope to gain information that we did not possess before the talking started. We lean in to hear words that we hope will transform our school grade, make us more productive, and better ourselves.
Also, we listen to give a response. This happens when we tune in while a friend is talking so that we know the proper advice to give. We want to gather all the facts so that our wisdom will be informed as we try to help other people.
Some people choose to hear and yet not really listen. The words go through their ears but never make it to their brain. If you are like me, you smile and occasionally nod your head in agreement, but your mind is on something completely different.
The other day I came up with this definition of a true friend. A friend is someone who listens for no reason. They know your stories and are not looking to gain new or helpful information. They understand they will probably not benefit from what you are telling them. They do not listen to give advice unless specifically asked. And they do not just hear; they actually listen to what you are saying.
A friend is someone you can have a good conversation with, and there are no strings attached. No one stands to gain anything other than human connection. Friends listen, and that might be the greatest gift we can give one another.