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Listening Quotes 

    For those using multiple quotes from this list, mentions and links back to this website are appreciated.    



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“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When we really listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. We are constantly being re-created.” - Brenda Ueland


“Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.” - Lemony Snicket


“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” - Richard Moss

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen.” - Ralph Nichols (Founding member of the International Listening Association (ILA), Known by the ILA as the "Father of the Field of Listening") 


“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.”  - Carl Jung


“The ear is the road to the heart.” - Voltaire


“The first duty of love is to listen.” - Paul Tillich


“The only difference between a flower and a weed is judgement.” - Anon


“What people really need is a good listening to.” - Mary Lou Casey 

“You can't fake listening. It shows.” - Raquel Welch 

“If you want to be listened to, you should put in time listening.” - Marge Piercy, author

“Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen.” Ambrose Bierce - The Devil’s Dictionary

“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti 


“Oh, the miraculous energy that flows between two people who care enough to get beyond surfaces and games, who are willing to take the risks of being totally open, of listening, of responding with the whole heart. How much we can do for each other.”  - Alex Noble 


"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that something deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of trust, sacred to our touch."  - e.e. cummings 
“We learn best to listen to our own voices if we are listening at the same time to other women - whose stories, for all our differences, turn out, if we listen well, to be our stories also.” - Barbara Deming


“Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else. We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.” - Margaret J. Wheatley 


"He was interesting because he was interested."  - Gore Vidal on Norman Mailer


Seek first to understand, then to be understood."   - Stephen Covey


“It seems to me that very few of us ever do listen. We do not know how to listen. I wonder if you have ever really listened to your child, to your wife or husband, or to a bird? I wonder if you have ever listened to the mind as it watches a sunset, or if you have read a poem with an attitude of listening? If we know how to listen, that very listening is an action in which the miracle of understanding takes place.” - J. Krishnamurti  

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” - Leo Buscaglia

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” - Karl A. Menninger

“.. to a poet, the human community is like the community of birds to a bird, singing to each other. Love is one of the reasons we are singing to one another, love of language itself, love of sound, love of singing itself, and love of the other birds.” - Sharon Olds 

"Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.” - David Oxbury Augsberg

Wisdom & Peace


The fool speaks; the wise man listens.” - African Proverb


“A wise man listening to a fool will learn more than a foolish man listening to a wise man.” - Anonymous 

“It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.” - Dick Cavett 

“For in the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” - Baba Dioum  

“I make progress by having people around me who are smarter than I am and listening to them. And I assume that everyone is smarter about something than I am.” - Henry J. Kaiser


“To observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti


“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” - Ernest Hemingway

“It is the province of knowledge to speak and the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes 

“Man’s mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes


"Words must be weighed, not counted."  - Polish Proverb

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self confidence.” - Robert Frost

"An enemy is one whose story we have not heard." - Gene Knudsen Hoffman 

“History repeats itself because no one listened the first time.” - Anonymous

“Listening to both sides of a story will convince you that there is more to a story than both sides.” - Frank Tyger

“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?” - Abraham Lincoln 

“Listening moves us closer, it helps us become more whole, more healthy, more holy. Not listening creates fragmentation, and fragmentation is the root of all suffering.” - Margaret J. Wheatley 

​"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."   - Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Peace is not a relationship of nations.  It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul.  Peace is not merely the absence of war.  It is also a state of mind.  Lasting peace can only come to peaceful people.” - Jawaharlal Nehru 

Truth & Justice


Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Albert Einstein

“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” - Mark Twain 

"All evidence of truth comes from the senses."    - Nietzsche


“It takes two to speak the truth—one to speak and another to hear. - Henry David Thoreau “


Marge, it takes two to lie—one to lie and one to listen.”  - Homer J. Simpson

"We must face with courage the fact that when we succeed in "hearing a person out,' our own position may become quite modified." - Ralph Nichols,

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships. I wrote that.” - Henry Winkler.  :)

“In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of a defeat—but in the evolution of real knowledge, it marks the first step in progress toward victory.” - Alfred North Whitehead 

“Happy the generation where the great listen to the small, for it follows that in such a generation the small will listen to the great."  - Hebrew proverb 

Creative Arts


"The poet doesn’t invent. He listens.” - Jean Cocteau          


“Most people read poetry listening for echoes because the echoes are familiar to them. They wade through it the way a boy wades through water, feeling with his toes for the bottom: The echoes are the bottom.”  - Wallace Stevens  


“One of the most important elements in teaching, conducting, and performing, all three, is listening.”   Itzhak Perlman 
“All I want to see from an actor is the intensity and accuracy of their listening.”  - Alan Rickman 


“The big catalyst was seeing my sister, when I was 11, doing a dramatic recital. When I saw her on the stage and everyone listening to her so patiently, quietly, that's all I wanted: for someone to look at me and listen to me, but in some beautiful and artistic way.”   - Gene Wilder (on his inspiration to become an actor)


“An artist, under pain of oblivion, must have confidence in himself, and listen only to his real master: Nature.” - Auguste Renoir

“Music is the effort we make to explain to ourselves how our brains work. We listen to Bach transfixed because this is listening to a human mind.” - Lewis Thomas 

"I have learned as much about writing about my people by listening to blues and jazz and spirituals as I have by reading novels.”   - Earnest J. Gaines
“It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things.”   - Stephen Mallarme

"Everything we do is music." John Cage




“A person’s a person no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss 


“Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“People tell kids a lot of things because they don't think they're really listening or they don't think they really know anything. When you're a kid you get a lot of information.” - Macy Gray

​“More than what we say or do, the way we are expresses what we think it means to be alive. So the articulate parent is less a telling than a listening individual.” - Polly Berrien Berends

The national PTA asked children to complete the phrase: “Something I wish I could teach parents is...” Many wished they could teach parents to listen. Their urgings are honest, insightful, and important—not only for parents, but also for any of us who have children in our lives.  

“Something I wish I could teach parents is...” 

“… to listen to kids rather than ignore or say 'That's nice.' Instead, listen, really listen, to what children have to say.” -Holly, age 12 

“.. to listen to their children. Most children have great ideas, but just don't get to share them.” -Barbara, age 13

“…how important it is to love their kid. They need to talk with their kid more and pay attention to their kids. All kids need is respect and love because that's what I got, and I turned out pretty good.” -Christina, age 10

“…to not lose their tempers so easily and to let us explain first, instead of just yelling at us.” -Tonya, age 11 

“… to get along with each other and when they're mad at each other, don't show us kids. It's scary. I wish I could sit down and talk to my parents like this, but I don't think they'll listen.” -Renika, age 10

“… that we don't know everything you know so stay patient and calm.” - Jennifer, age 12

“… how important it is to always make TIME for us. The more you talk and spend time with us, the better relationship you'll have and you'll also understand us better.”  -Christina, age 12

“…Don't say cruel things to people like ‘she's so fat I don't think she can fit through the door.’”  -Kathy, age 13

“… parents are just to help and guide and encourage. Please do not press your feelings because we have our own feelings.”  -Monica, age 13





“She generally gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it).” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

“Listen to all, plucking a feather from each passing goose, but follow no one absolutely.” - Chinese proverb

“None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson


“A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us.  To live is to slowly be born.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

“Let your heart guide you.  It whispers, so listen closely.” - The Land Before Time

“Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life.  It is not something discovered; it is something molded.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.  Listen to the don’ts.  Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the wont’s.  Listen to the never haves then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child.  Anything can be.” - Shel Silverstein 

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the wound of the genuine in yourself.  It is the only true guide you will ever have.  And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.” - Howard Thurman 

“It is only when we free ourselves of those self-imposed boundaries, when we listen to our hearts and give wing to our natural curiosity, that we can truly see and tap the breadth of opportunity available to us.” - Larry Vanderhosef 

“There is nothing terribly wrong with feeling lost, so long as that feeling precedes some plan on your part to actually do something about it. Too often a person grows complacent with their disillusionment, perpetually wearing their "discomfort" like a favorite shirt.” - Jhonen Vasquez


“Now I’ve been in therapy for eight years, both individual and group work. I continue to go not because I have problems, but because it enriches me, and I am growing.”    - SARK 

“If I had listened to the critics, I’d have died drunk in the gutter.”  - Anton Checkov  


“Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen.” - Zen proverb  

“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” - Zen proverb  





“Much silence makes a powerful noise.” - African Proverb

“Silence is exhilarating at first - as noise is - but there is a sweetness to silence outlasting exhilaration, akin to the sweetness of listening and the velvet of sleep.” - Edward Hoagland - novelist

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence.”  - Thomas Hood - poet

“Accustomed to the veneer of noise, to the shibboleths of promotion, public relations, and market research, society is suspicious of those who value silence.” - John Lahr - theater critic      

“Night, the beloved.  Night, when words fade and things come alive.  When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again.  when man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.”
      Paul Simon - Sound of Silence

“My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.”  - Edith Sitwell 

“We need silence to be able to touch souls.” - Mother Theresa

“True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.” - David Tyson Gentry

“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.” - Kahlil Gibran 

"It is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence.” - Seneca (5BC to 65 AD)

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and dimension all its own. It talks to me sometimes. I feel myself alive in it. It talks. And I can hear it... It has a strange, beautiful texture. It doesn’t always talk. Sometimes it cries, and you can hear the pain of the world in it.” - from The Chosen, by Chaim Potok

“Hospitality consists in a little fire, a little food, and an immense quiet.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation.” - James Thurber  


“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen. Simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in exstacy at your feet.” - Franz Kafka 

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” - John Lubbock

“Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” - Rabindranath Tagore (poet)



Wish Placed on an "Imagine" Wish Tree  (with Little Bear's help)   :)

“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” - Winnie the Pooh (AA Milne)

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