Please Listen

When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why
I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem,
you have failed me,
strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap; 20 cents will get
you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham
in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering,
but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can
and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and
inadequacy.

But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational,
then I can stop trying to convince
you and get about this business
of understanding what’s behind
this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are
obvious and I don’t need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when
we understand what’s behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works, sometimes,
for some people – because God is mute,
and he doesn’t give advice or try
to fix things.
God just listens and lets you work
it out for yourself.

So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a minute
for your turn – and I will listen to you.

Leo Buscaglia

  1. Linda on 2008-07-30 at 05:46

    That poem has just taught me something I should probably have learned earlier in life. It is so true and so few people realise what it says. It is the natural response of most people – me most of all – to try and comfort and help in some way but now I will just listen. If there is something I can say or do, I will wait and think before saying or doing it.



  2. Gary on 2008-07-31 at 14:43

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Linda.

    I have to agree – I have a tendency to be practical, and want to help fix the problem, rather than doing the emotional thing and just listen. I’m not sure how I acquired this poem (probably a chain email), and I’d love to know who the original author was.



  3. Linda on 2008-08-01 at 00:41

    partners.aest.org.uk

    I googled it and the author is unknown but it is on a site for survivors of sexual abuse. That makes it even more meaningful. Makes you remember that every person we see in every day has a history that we will never know about. This world is a dangerous place with us humans thinking we’re in charge. But there is plenty goodness around too. For some reason, we’re rarely told about the good bits :$ All we can do is cause the least harm possible and help when we can. So the author has made at least 2 of us think more than usual 🙂



  4. Gary on 2008-09-09 at 10:07

    Didn’t even think to search for it online myself. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the site you found is the original site, but as you said, it makes it more poignant if it was.
    Thanks 🙂



  5. Kazeem on 2012-08-13 at 05:08

    I absolutely love this poem. Every time I go back to read this, It always gives me joy that I have learn this lesson early on in life. I am only 19, but I feel like so much of what this poem teachers could be useful for every individual—young or old. We just need someone to hear us out, not to do for us. I love my Career and Life Management teacher for teaching us this while I was in High School.



  6. Ruth on 2012-12-28 at 05:35

    Glad to find this poem. I’ve been searching for a while. Further searching located this site which gives a clue to the poem’s origin.
    http://www.health.qld.gov.au/mhcarer/docs/articlelisten.pdf



  7. Min on 2013-05-29 at 05:59

    It was published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. The author is listed there I think.



  8. Pamela on 2013-07-24 at 16:57

    The author of “Please Listen” is
    Leo Buscaglia



  9. Saroj on 2015-06-22 at 18:40

    I work as a hospice volunteer and our director Patty gave us. After reading it a few times over my relationship with my children became meaningful now they call me more often and feel comfortable it is amazing. As a hospice volunteer we go and listen to their family dynamic and we just listen that makes them very comfortableable. For me it is very rewarding.
    For that I thank Patty.



  10. Saroj on 2015-06-22 at 18:48

    I work as a hospice volunteer our director Patty gave us. After reading it a few times over my relationship with my children became meaningful. As a hospice volunteer when we go to our assignment we sit and listen to what ever is on their mind, or we just sit, that makes them very comfortableable. For me it is very rewarding.
    For that I thank Patty.



  11. […] instructor shared this poem: Please Listen – with […]