I am not always a good listener. And I know exactly why.
I am addicted to connections.
When I hear something that "pings" a memory or a fact or an experience in my brain, the connection just jumps out of my mouth.
This propensity for making connections comes in handy as a teacher, a librarian, and as a parent helping a teenager with pre-calculus homework (who knew I could remember SOHCAHTOA?). We all learn by building on what we know, so it's my job to connect new material with students' prior learning, connect their interests with books and materials, connect my teachers with resources, connect my teenager with time-tested acronyms.
The problem is that in conversation, it is not always polite or supportive to reply to a friend's or colleague's or child's recounting of their experience by bringing up one's own. It's in those situations that my urge to make a connection can come across as self-centered and uncaring--I certainly don't want to perpetuate that image!
So I need to practice the same reference skills I use when I help a student in the stacks--asking questions instead of telling my own story. Mea culpa.