One of my favorite teachers was my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Mijares. She taught me the difference between hearing someone and listening to someone. My dear friends, I wish she could have impacted every other person on this planet the way she impacted me.
It's so easy for us to hear someone, to hear his/her rants, excuses, problems, etc. But do we listen? Listening doesn't just involve your ears; it means using your heart. Listening means to pay attention to what that person's heart is trying to tell your heart. Listening means to empathize with that person, to put your own issues apart and to put yourself in that person's shoes (if even for a moment).
Listening? It means caring, like truly caring for that person who's sharing a piece of his heart with you. It means to stop whatever you're doing at that moment, look him in the eyes, and try to understand. Just try to understand what he's expressing.
Sure, it more often than not sounds like ranting, but maybe, just maybe, all he wants is for someone to care enough to listen. You don't have to say anything or do anything, just listen.