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Is being a good listener always a virtue?

There are people who promise to be there for others, and then there are those who actually are. If you’re someone who makes your presence felt in someone’s life even before they say the word, you’re admittedly the best. It really doesn’t take a lot to be good to others. We all need a friend/partner/confidante who’s a good listener and can understand the depth and intensity of our concerns.

Allowing myself some brag value, I confess I’ve been, or at least tried my best to be, there for anyone who needed me. I’m only a message or call away and always available for chat or a quick catch-up meet with my friends and loved ones. They confide in me with their darkest secrets knowing that I’ll lock them up in my mind and keep them safe. I’m their in-house personal sounding board.

Sometimes though their sadness and my helplessness in finding a solution to it gets too much to take for me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t repent or want to back out.

However, I’m not a professional. I’m not equipped with the right frame of mind to handle others’ problems without getting affected by them myself. I want to help but occasionally I just don’t know how. In conclusion, my health suffers.

This makes me wonder, is being a good listener always a virtue? The mental and emotional vulnerability of a person seeks my hand out and I subconsciously extend it without a thought.

The uneasiness that follows after their revelations though pulls me apart at times. Personal or professional, there are limitations to the advice I can offer. Also, we live in a society where people see everything through the shades of judgement.

However noble our intentions then, it is advisable not take upon an emotional responsibility we possibly aren’t equipped to handle. Isn’t it? Be all ears but don’t attempt to make things right for them if we don’t know how to.

A lost person cannot guide someone else and this isn’t a gamble anyone should be willing to take. Don’t offer help if “It’ll be alright”, “Think positive” or “Try to be happy” is the advice you can come up with. Direct them to the right person and listen to them thank you when all’s well instead. What say?

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32 thoughts on “Is being a good listener always a virtue?

  1. I feel when we listen we actual help them by making them feel that someone is there for you.
    Ms Arora
    Do read my latest post and share your views

  2. Well, Varsha, things aren’t in absolute black and white though they appear so. All the things in the universe are grey, and yes, their shades vary from seemingly white to seemingly black. This is best conveyed through the symbol of Yin Yang.

    Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. Nature is paradoxical. The thread that helps the kite in flying also limits its height, or in other words, stops it from flying.

    The same is the case with listening. It’s both virtue & vice together. Every choice has its consequences. Choose wisely.

    1. “The thread that helps the kite in flying also limits its height, or in other words, stops it from flying.”
      There, you said it Ravish. Lending a patient ear to someone is a service we do to them as well as ourselves. It is a way of demonstrating our feelings and affection for them and assuring them that we’re there for them whenever they need us.
      That said, I think I’ll choose to be the good friend and listener I’ve always been to those who’ve earned this place in my life. Hope the virtue overrides the vice.
      Thanks a lot for your thoughtful comment, Ravish. Truly appreciated. 🙂

  3. Being a listener is a virtue that is time tested. However it does come with its set of do’s and donts. Absorbing other’s thoughts, issues, challenges, certainly drags the energy of the listener and is then seen not as a virtue. The line in between is thin and difficult to negotiate!

    1. “Absorbing other’s thoughts, issues, challenges, certainly drags the energy of the listener and is then seen not as a virtue”
      Perfect lines, Anagha. The line extends and shrinks depending upon the person too. Alas, sometimes some people deserve that kind of attention and listening.

    1. Indeed, Dipika. The edge has poked me quite a few times before but now with my life and family taking so much of time and precedence it has started affecting me more than it should.
      Friends are for life though, isn’t it? We can’t turn our backs on them. Finding the right balance is what we need to do.

  4. Being a good listener is always a good virtue. However, knowing when and where to draw the line at becoming a shouder for people to cry on at their will is important.

    1. You’re right, M. Where to draw the line is the tricky part and I cannot seem to find the line yet. With friends like you around I’ll learn that, I hope.

  5. You spoke my heart out today. Beautiful write-up and loved the post! I feel it kinda adds positive vibe to the person who talks with you and trusts us so helps being a good listener. Other way some tensed situation,it could affect our mental state our dishearten us. I hope this statement makes sense 🙂

  6. A thought provoking post. I consider myself a gud listener to my friends n family but sometimes it saps the energy out of me, especially when people expect u to know all the answers to their problems.

  7. There are many times when people talk to you just to share what they have to say and then this listening part comes into importance. Being surrounded by some very god friends who share their emotions with me, I think they want me to listen them , their thoughts their feelings and I really love doing that.

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