UNITED STATES—Let me be clear this is not a column aimed at the issue of people expressing their opinion, which I know many people will suspect the title hints that. However, this is aimed at the idea of us processing what we say before saying it. Once again, this is not aimed at people saying stupid things, but attempting to shed a bit of light on America on the idea of why we say what we say before actually thinking before we say it.

On top of that I really want to discuss why people are so quick to respond to things without actually listening to WHAT the person they are talking to is saying. What prompted this? I had a conversation with someone a few days ago about an argument they had with someone else about a heavy issue. I’m sort of listening to the conversation and I’m able to decipher both sides.

He has valid points, she has valid points. However, the more he talked it became a realization to me; he didn’t listen to a single word this person said to him. It was as if his thoughts, his advice and his presumption of how things should transpire were of more importance. There are those people out there who never fully LISTEN to what is being told to them. They are so quick to be defensive or reactive to something a person says, without fully processing what is being told to them.

Hmm, I’m really trying to think of the word to best describe this situation, and you know what comes to mind: therapist! It seems like everyone wants to be a therapist nowadays, not realizing they don’t have the qualifications to dish out the advice or the thoughts THEY FEEL is best suited for the situation. Sometimes when you have a conversation with someone you don’t have to react all the time. It sometimes best suits the talker to just have someone listen to what they’re saying. Your thoughts, your opinions don’t always have to be interjected into the mix.

People don’t always want to be told how to think, how to feel or how to react to a situation. We sometimes just want people to hear what we have to say, to perhaps empathize with the situation at hand and just be that shoulder to cry on, if it warrants that. It’s like our brains are working at speeds we are unable to process and we blurt out some stupid things not realizing that perhaps what we said probably shouldn’t have left our mouth. Just because you can give advice does not mean you always have to do it. Even if you’re tempted to share your thoughts on a particular situation, it’s not a bad idea to take a second to think before you actually speak.

If you’re going to give advice to someone who is asking for your thoughts, don’t deliver what you would do or what you think should be done. Take what has been given to you, make a valuable assessment and then deliver your verdict. Don’t blurt or just say something because you want to hear yourself talk or be the authority figure. They always say we talk more than we listen; maybe it’s time we start to take that advice and actually use it to our fullest potential.