One factor that makes it rare for us to find so few people who can carry on an agreeable and rational conversation is that there are practically no people who do not think first of all about what they want to say, rather than responding precisely to what others are saying to them. The politest people are content merely to show an attentive mien, while all the time we see that their eyes and their minds are wandering, and that they are in a rush to return to what they want to say. They should consider that this insistent search for self-satisfaction is a poor way of giving pleasure, and that it is a greater accomplishment to listen well and reply justly than to speak well and often without responding to what others are saying to us.
Source: the Marquise Sablé’s work is in Maxims and Various Thoughts (Maximes et pensées diverses) 1678
Contributed by: Zaady