Importance Of Being a Good Listener in A Relationship
Communication is the basis and the very core of a relationship and specifically aims at connecting and offering support to the significant other through verbal and non-verbal modalities. It consists of two aspects which are talking and listening. Talking is at any moment secondary to listening as it does not require special efforts by its very nature.
Listening involves lending an impartial hearing to understand the opinions of one another during a dialogue and responding with subtle cues to what is being said without interruption. It helps couples perceive each other’s opinions, thoughts, and needs appropriately. Surprisingly most couples today lack effective communication. The tendency to overlook and misinterpret the other person’s point of view is the root cause of disputes between couples. However, attentive listening could help develop mutual respect and pave way for a healthy relationship.
Active listening serves the purpose of effective communication as it fosters a feeling of love, trust, acknowledgment, and understanding. It connotes that the other partner is receptive to your needs and is willing to fathom upon and work on any problem at hand. It can eliminate chances of conflict, resentment, and negative emotions arising out of disagreements. Active listening facilitates effective communication in relationships and helps navigate through difficult conversations.
Tips to be a good listener:
- Listening with a goal of understanding- The conversation can be fruitful if healthy arguments are presented instead of merely debating over a topic. Listening helps understand the perspectives on which both partners agree or disagree. It is possible for partners to live amicably in spite of differences through proper discussions as the two have agreed to disagree which is a sign of healthy relationships.
- Acknowledging- Acknowledging by giving appropriate responses like nodding, maintaining eye contact, avoiding mobile phone and other distractors, and engaging in facial expressions assures the speaker of being heard. Asking open-ended questions offers the speaker to express at length and gives a chance for the listener to correctly analyze the other person’s viewpoint.
- Avoiding interruption- One needs to be mindful of avoiding the habit of talking over during discussion. Even if we disagree with the thoughts expressed by the other person, we need to let him/her completely explain their opinion. Listening carefully and withholding your own thoughts till the other individual finishes talking is an indication of being a good listener.
- Being empathetic and compassionate- It is important that you put yourself in the shoes of others to know their situation better. Having said that it doesn’t imply that you give in to what is being said but rather conveys that you understand what the other party says, thinks, or feels.
- Focusing on non-verbal communication- Body language, tone, and voice level of speaker better explains what they are trying to put across than words. Looking for hidden meaning or cues during communication helps the listener grasp the ideas of the speaker much quicker.
- Overcoming listening bias- Paying attention to only what you expect the person to say can be a detriment to listening. A non-judgmental and unbiased attitude shall be maintained while the other person expresses himself. One needs to avoid expecting black and white thoughts denoting something as either right or wrong. Also personally held assumptions or expectations should be shunned from leading the dialogue.
- Appropriateness- A good listener shall strive to stick to the topic instead of digressing from it. It is also important to note that responses given for validation in between the conversation need to be limited and short.
- Avoid running away from conversations- One should not walk away from conversations as ignoring what the person is trying to convey is no less than an insult.
- Summarizing and paraphrasing- Rephrasing what was said shows you were interested and paid heed to all that was uttered by the speaker. It further clarifies something you have not understood and can prevent misunderstandings from seeping in.
- Avoid jumping to conclusions- Reflecting on everything verbalized by the significant other during the dialogue is important instead of arriving at vague conclusions.
The need to be heard and understood is basic to all humans which explains why listening in relationships constitutes an underlined part of wellbeing. Choosing to listen rather than assuming what others have to say can help grasp a better understanding of the situation. Active listening provides a middle ground to settle disputes in case of a heated argument. Resolving the issue appears easier when one gains an insight into what the other party holds in mind. Thus, being a good listener is key to leading a healthy relationship.