The Advantages of not Being Able to Talk

woman wearing teal dress sitting on chair talking to man

Not being able to talk fast enough for the current pace of conversation, and not being able to elucidate yourself, besides the obvious frustration of not having your opinion heard, can be a bit of a struggle for second language learners. But, as with everything, there is a silver lining. And although that silver lining may not be apparent at the time, it is always there.

In my case, I still have periods where I can only really listen to the conversation, and only contribute when I'm called upon, or when it is something that I regard as my speciality. But, being forced to listen like this helps you to develop one key skill that you otherwise wouldn't: put simply, the ability to listen.

I'm not talking about comprehending what is being spoken. Listening is not only a one way task anyway, it involves you communicating that you are understanding and following what the speaker is saying.

No, I'm talking about the ability to really listen and empathise with the speaker. This is surprisingly useful too. As humans, I feel we naturally have the urge to talk, and being able to listen to someone for a long time can really help you develop interpersonal skills, as well as your relationship with them. You don't really have to do much, just sit there and listen. And that's all that's really involved.

Monolinguals and people who haven't had much experience in the real world using their second language may not have the chance to develop this ability, but they should definitely try.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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