I was shopping for a birthday present for my younger brother when I overheard two teenaged girls chatting. One of the girls was describing to her friend how she loves the Ray Ban sunglasses that fold in half. She picked up a pair of imitations off the shelf and was showing her friend. As she was in the middle of describing why she liked that pair of sunglasses, her friend completely ignored her and grabbed a scarf off the shelf and started going on about how pretty the scarf was.
I'm not sure if she was being intentionally rude, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for the friend who was totally ignored and interrupted. Surprisingly, Ray Ban Girl just seemed to go along with it by stopping her own story and showing interest in the interrupting friend's scarf.
Showing genuine interest in others by listening to what others have to say is definitely a lost art. Think of your own group of friends. Do you and your friends show genuine interest in the person talking? Do you sit quietly making eye contact with the friend who has the floor?
For me, showing genuine interest in others is a choice I have to make every single day. I have to decide whether I am going to make those around me feel loved and cared about despite what I feel. If I always acted the way I felt I would be a very unpleasant person to be around. Fortunately, God gives us the grace to make the right choice in spite of our feelings.
Let's reverse the situation to ourselves and see how we would feel if someone interrupted or ignored us. Imagine you are in the middle of sharing with your friend how you just love to read and you start talking about the book you are currently reading, when all of a sudden your friend jumps in and says, "I hate reading, I would so much rather watch a movie or documentary or something. Let's get something to eat... I'm hungry." Wow! If that were me, I know I would feel really bad. I would feel like my friend was barely even listening to what I was saying and found it so boring that she interrupted me and wanted to go eat.
How do you think that you are making the people around you feel? Do you think they feel cared about and valued?
Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves."
We are supposed to consider others more important than ourselves. Not only showing interest when it truly interests us, but also showing interest in others because you care about God's Word and you want to make that person feel more important than yourself.
So next time you're in a group with your friends and you are tempted to interrupt and give your own two cents about the topic, keep your mouth closed and remind yourself to consider your friend as more important than yourself.
Even if you continue to get interrupted and ignored, remember that you can't change other people—you can only change yourself. If you make some serious and genuine changes, I have a feeling it might have a trickling effect on your friends.
Remember the old saying, "The reason we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may hear more and speak less."
By Bethany Baird
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