Always already listening


There’s a distinction we use at Landmark called “always already listening”. It’s a big one. When you think you’re listening to a person, you’re not actually listening to the person; you’re listening to your listening of the person.

In the case of people you’ve known a long time like a spouse or sibling, child or parent, the always already listening got decided long ago. Once the always already listening is in place, you never actually hear the person again (unless you do something to interrupt it).

If you meet someone new, you’ll have an always already listening decided in the first few seconds of meeting, often before he or she has spoken a word.

Human beings have always already listenings of others, of themselves, of situations, of possibilities.

I got a particularly clear example of the distinction the other day when I met a woman called J.


Update: I’ve deleted the rest of this post. It was a good one I thought, but it also conflicted with an agreement I’d made. Sorry, folks.



15 thoughts on “Always already listening

  1. OOOO, I love this, and I can identify.

    I remember giving my sister advice ALL THE TIME. Continually.

    She’d often say “Kim, please just listen to me. I just need somebody to listen without judging or giving me advice.”

    I wish I would have done this more.

    Happy 2014, dear Narelle. XXXxx


    • It really takes something to listen without judging or giving advice, doesn’t it? I get your regret you couldn’t always do it, dear Kim.

      Someone wished me a year of happiness, joy and adventure. The “adventure” leapt out. Doesn’t that sound awesome … Happy 2014!!


  2. This is a great reminder, thank you. Listening–really listening–has been on my list of things to work on, for years. I keep working, and finding new layers of work to do…


    • Merry Christmas, Sherilee. That’s the truth. Always new layers.

      I’m going to take on two things about listening for 2014 and maybe more if they occur to me. If I’m in a conversation and I’m only pretending to listen, I’m going to stop and tell the person I wasn’t listening and ask them to repeat it.

      Also, if I’m in a conversation with X, and X starts complaining about another person who’s not there, I’m going to stop the conversation and find out if X has discussed the complaint with the person. If X hasn’t, I’m going to ask X to do so.

      Happy 2014!!


      • I’ve done that first thing, and it is very helpful. People don’t take it as poorly as you might imagine! I have just said, “Say that again, my mind went away for a second and I missed it.”

        And I totally agree about the third party conversations. That one can be tough, but it is also reassuring to whomever you’re speaking with, that you wouldn’t talk about THEM without addressing the complaint with them first. Good stuff.

        Wishing you all the best in the new year!


  3. Been there, working on that. ;)

    So glad to see I’m not the only one. :)

    It’s been a LONG time since I even thought about Landmark Education. I went to the Forum and the Advanced Forum in Chicago. It really helped me in two areas – calling my real dad for the first time in 19 years (my mother kept trying to alienate me and my sisters from him), and reuniting with him (and I’ve been close with him and my stepmother for the last 10 years now), and deciding to look for a new job. Within 2 weeks of sending out an application, I obtained the same kind of work in a less stressful environment. Love the Landmark experience!




    • Ooo goody, you’re a fellow graduate! That’s wonderful. I’m so glad you called your real dad and reunited with him. Landmark’s good for healing broken down relationships. I reunited with my Mum out of doing the Forum and we’ve never looked back since. Having healed the relationship with her made all the difference when my dad passed away three years ago. I could be there for her and my family in a way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Warm wishes, Nx


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