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Just listen and nod

     No more trying to change other people's minds. Agreeable, that's me. "Mm…hmm." "Sure." No more spouting off about how right I am. Note I didn't say about how wrong you are. Just keeping it positive. Keep on talking as I nod at whatever you're telling me. I'd never in a hundred years agree to it, but I'm not jumping into it. No war of words for me. Not anymore.

     In my—um—advanced years, I've learned my lesson. No one changes their mind about anything. It's a lot easier to sit back and listen. All these years I've been convinced I know exactly what to say to—if not change your mind, at least get you thinking about possibly sometime in the distant future considering that it might be wise to come to my way of thinking. Nope. Doesn't happen. Being older—and wiser?—frees me from all that effort.

     Is texting better than phone calls? Are Republicans better than Democrats? Is organic food really healthier than "normal" food? Is there no such thing as miracles? The miracle would be if you changed your mind. I'm convinced—nobody changes their mind.

     Maybe some people do, but you can bet it's not because of anything you said or did. Minds are a tough organ. Once they find their position, they're not about to be disturbed by outside interferences—like you.

     The fun of getting older is that suddenly you know enough to relax and let go of that age-old instinct to convince everyone else that you're right and they should follow your lead. Your best friend tells you all about the latest cure for leg pains which involves running five miles a day. You nod and smile and don't suggest that a person with leg pains might not be able to run around the block, let alone run five miles a day as you grit your teeth against the pain in your leg. You should never have mentioned it.

     Best to change the subject. Ask about his latest cruise down the Baltic River. He'll be only too happy to tell you about his fascinating trip for the next couple of hours. Then you can go home and do those two leg exercises your doctor gave you.

     It's hard to do, to stop trying to change people's minds, but it's worth it. Being a "fix-it" kind of person, my mouth automatically opens when someone tells me about a problem they're having. I know just what to suggest because I've suggested it before. Maybe this time they'll change their mind. No more of that. Older and wiser, I close my mouth firmly at the first sign of telling a friend my solution to their problem. Listening is much easier than earnestly talking, talking, talking—especially when the talking involves serious thought about how to change someone's mind.   

     Same with giving my—mostly unasked for—opinion. I don't do it anymore. Too much hassle. No one's going to change their mind and agree with me if they don't already, so I sit back and listen to their dissertation, smiling and nodding as I think how much easier life is when you're not out to change people's minds.

     Okay. You got me. I'm not very good at this, as anyone who has talked to me in the last twenty-four hours will tell you. Try as I might, I speak up more than I nod and smile and even now, here I am trying to get you to change your mind about trying to change other people's minds. If you're wise, you'll just smile and nod. . .

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