Learn common mistakes bad listeners make, how you can avoid them, and the best strategy to create more intimacy through effective listening.
If you’re like me and have a million-gazillion things going on AT THE SAME TIME, this gone be hard to hear.
No, literally if you’re doing something else right now (or even thinking about what you need to do next), you won’t learn how to be a better listener. Because here’s the truth: if you’re only half-way paying attention, you’ll miss this entire point….
A few years ago, as a desperate, bored to tears grad student, I tried to become a boot-legged speed reader.
I thought, “How hard can this really be??”
It was one of four 15-page single spaced articles. I finger-skimmed through the first 3 paragraphs. Three times.
Then, the same sentences, a little slower.
A wasted twenty-five minutes of my life later, I didn’t get how people could do it—and still understand what they were reading.
Truth is, they really can’t.
Scott H. Young, author of 7 Must-Know Strategies to Learn Anything Faster, busted that myth. People who claim to be able to read 20,000 words a minute are sitting there staring at that page. Not reading nothing. Turns out, the faster you read (anything more than 500-600 words per minute), the less likely you’ll be able to comprehend it.
Here’s my point: While many people spend too much time trying to speed through this and rush that, we miss out on ALOT of important information.
How many times have you had misunderstandings with your significant other because you weren’t practicing effective listening skills?
One thing leads to another and their like, “Nevermind. You don’t even care!”
Then, you’re like “Whatchu mean I don’t care? I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t care!”
Now ya’ll tangled up in a random, senseless misunderstanding.
That’s why I really wanted to touch on how to be a better listener, so you can avoid the nonsense fights and miscommunication.
Getting in tune with your partner requires effective listening.
It requires you to slow down and focus.
“Behind every complaint there is a deep, personal longing. Good listening builds more love and trust.”
This is something you have to mentally prepare for by putting your agenda out the window and being open to let the conversation ebb and flow with whatever your partner is saying.
For example, here’s some common mistakes people make when listening to anger: taking it personally, apologizing, getting defensive, or even trying to lighten things up by trying to make them laugh.
This creates nothing but distraction. It can be frustrating for them. The best way to handle listening to anger is to take it seriously and try to understand it, even if you don’t agree with it.
That’s a bad idea, especially if no one’s asking for advice. The remedy is to follow-up with exploratory statements. One of my favorite things to say is “Tell me more about that.” or “Tell me the story of that.”
While many effective listening skills come in handy for work, these are great because they build love and trust.
Step 1: Be Prepared
Imagine you’re getting ready to watch your favorite TV Show (Grey’s Anatomy? Monday night Football?). Think about the steps you’d take. Would you gather your popcorn, change into something more comfortable, or get into your chair (I have a favorite recliner I hop in every Thursday night)? In the same way, get ready to tune in and turn on your partner’s channel.
Step 2: Be Present
This is all about feeling and not doing.
Don’t be critical, judgmental, defensiveness, or try to put your partner down (or act like you know better).
Ask questions and listen for answers. Do practice empathy. And please breathe.
Step 3: Be a Witness
You’ve just witnessed a robbery and the police come up to you to ask what happened. Your only job is to spill the beans with the facts. What do you see? What did you hear? Who was involved? What did the suspect look like? Knowing these details makes for a great witness.
You gotta be a witness while listening to your partner by reflecting back exactly what you heard them say. This is a really great effective listening skill because it’s the only evidence that you were really listening. In turn, your partner doesn’t feel so alone.
Sometimes, you can be at a loss for words about what exactly to ask so here’s some questions that’ll help you go deeper into your partner’s world and open them up more to share true feelings.
What’s one insight or key takeaway you got from this article? What’s something you’d like to try differently to tune into your partner so they feel understood? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Important: please share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments. Links to other posts, videos, etc. may be removed.
Eliminate 69% of fights and change your love life tonight -even if you’re considering divorce.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing ideas, opinions, and aha’s with a growing community of folks who are committed to making their relationships work. You are truly appreciated.
Sending so much love your way,
Don't go to bed mad and use this step-by-step relationship guide to eliminate 69% of fights and change your love life tonight-even if you’re thinking divorce.