Instantly improve your relationship by improving your listening skills
If you were to stop 10 couples on the street…anywhere, the response would be the same, “My partner doesn’t listen to me!” And they’re not referring to taking out the garbage or some other chore around the house (I mean, that too, but)–they are referring to active listening skills.
Sure, a few people might say, “My real problem is that my boyfriend won’t hug me or relate to me,” but that’s just a symptom–when a person actually feels heard and understood — things in a relationship shift…for the better. Not only does the physical get better but the communication gets better. The problem with active listening is that we are trained to just get our needs met–so when we listen, we only listen for a pause or break in the conversation to “get in” our words and have our needs met. That’s why so many relationships fail — no one is listening to one another and everyone is so busy trying to get “their needs” in front of the line while ignoring what the relationship needs.
A relationship doesn’t function from the individual level, it must occur at the couple level.
When your partner is telling you they had a bad day at work…what they really want is someone to listen and just have their “bad day feelings” validated. They don’t need solutions or advice or shoving your laptop in their face saying, “Here, look at all the available jobs out there in your field, get a new one and stop complaining about fat Alice in payroll.” That type of listening won’t get you far…but it may get you the silent treatment…or food poisoning….just saying.
There are two types of listening.
Type 1: Listen for
When you “listen for” you are listening for the underlying meaning of the message. You listen for the heart of the story. You listen for clarity, for vulnerability and for their truth. This type of listening is free of prejudice and it’s not the type of listening where you can’t wait for them to stop so you can interject your opinion or “what I would do is…” You’re missing the point. This type of active listening is all about the other person. It’s about comforting them and signaling that you are there for them and you’re there to listen.
Type 2: Listen with:
When you “listen with” you bring a load full of crap to the situation. You bring bitterness, bias, and baggage. You are not being receptive to what the other person is truly saying and instead you “listen with” an intent to fix, judge, or interrupt. If someone if offering you an apology and you listen with resentment — you are not truly open to receive that apology. If someone is trying to help you and show you a new way of doing something but you are “listening with” judgement, you will stick to your old ways and never pick up that new skill. Listening with only brings a negative outcome and it never allows the relationship (with your mom, sister, nephew, boss, wife, boyfriend) to grow and reach the next level. When you listen with, you close yourself off to opportunities.
Watch the video — it explains it all!
The next time you’re in a conversation with anyone — become aware of the type of listener you are being. It takes practice and lots of awareness on your part but if you open with, “I’m trying to be a better listener and I will listen for what you’re truly saying,” you’ll already be off to a great start.
Who in your life would benefit from reading this blog? Send them this post or share it on social media — they’ll thank you for it. If your constantly saying, “My boyfriend won’t listen to me, ” or “Why don’t people listen?” You know what to do — sharing is only 1 click away.