Silence can lead to better answers

How long can you wait after asking someone a question, before you give the answer yourself? Or before you ask another question – that supposedly clarifies your first question? Can you just sit and wait for the other person to answer your original question?

Sometimes just by asking a following question, that, in itself, changes the original question. I have found that a stance of “friendly curiousity” is my key go-to strategy, when I have asked a question and find myself wanting to rush in with a probable answer to that question, or to offer “support” in how to understand my original question by asking even more questions.

Being curious and attentive helps me to stay quiet (ok – granted – not all the time! But hey, give me some credit,  I am trying to be mindful of this, and trying very hard at that!) because that way, I am really, sincerely, truly interested to find out how my inital question was received.  Who knows what kind of good thoughts could come out of an answer that was allowed to be reflected upon before I hijacked their train of thought until it jumped its tracks.
Imagine what kind of a resulting discussion that could lead to! 

Do you leave the other person time to give you a thoughtful answer? What do you do if you feel like the answer to your question is taking a “long” time? How long is “long” for you? Can you extend that time and just wait it out to see what happens? What answers could come if you just let your question “sit” with the other person for a while?

Do you know it all?

*Quote by Madeline L’Engle

Offering advice instead of asking questions? Jumping to conclusions?
The best questions asked, are those of ourselves.
This has nothing to do with not trusting yourself or your judgement, by-the-way. This has to do with “awareness of yourself” and paying attention to what is really going on inside of you when someone else is speaking.
I have found that the best way to listen, is to simply be curious. Curious about the person that is talking to me, about the words being said, about the story being told, and a little bit about the emotions I sense in my body.
I don’t have to have an answer to any of these things. It is simply sufficient to just be there, in body and mind, with the other person. That makes a much more lasting impact than any solution I could come up with. Because, as we all know: what is real – their reality – is in the “beholder’s eye”. Agree?