[M/s 365] Sit down, STFU and listen

listening-ear“Sit down, shut the fuck up, and listen.”

That was the lesson that some folks tried to impress upon me back when I was a kinkling. [1] I also learned it as a geek on Usenet. Both communities, the kink world and the geek/Usenet world were as potentially unforgiving back in the mid90s as they are now. Both communities, at least in the places and groups I was a part of, had a high signal-to-noise ratio and expected new people to make the effort to learn before opening mouths. I can honestly say it’s probably been one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten. I wish I was always as good at it as I should be.

A lot of it comes down to active listening. I employ the “sit down, STFU, listen” when I go into new situations, or enter into new communities or new groups. Why? A phrase I’ve heard is that most listening is “listening to reply”, not “listening to listen”, especially in conversations. If I lead with my opinions, how have I had time to listen, think and process new information? I’ve found that I’m most successful when I shut up. Like I said, I wish I was half as good at it as I describe it, but I’m a work in progress in that regards.

There are a lot of new situations that we’re going to encounter this year as we travel and meet new folks and new communities. Situations and things we’ve not had any personal experience at. “Sit down, shut the fuck up and listen” seems to be the best approach to learning the most about these new things. I may not agree with everything I hear. I may not want to be a part of what I hear. Or, I may enthusiastically agree and want to invest in what I hear. Either way, I need time and thought to take it in, hear corroboration, hear opposing viewpoints, and ultimately decide what comes closest to my morals, ethics and character.

[1] I can’t take credit for that phrase “kinkling”, I first heard it in 2011 from Vi Johnson. It fits how to describe how I was.

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Master Michael S

International Master 2014. Member of: Chicago Leather Club, Chicago Leathermen Group, MAsT: Greater Chicago. Longtime leatherman. One of the Four Horsemen.

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