10 Tips on How to be a Better Listener in Your Relationship
“Can’t you just listen?” one has pretty much heard this line at least once in his or her life. A few of you might have even heard it from your boyfriend or girlfriend. Communication is indeed an important foundation in a stable and healthy relationship, but there are two elements to communication: talking and listening. Talking is a common element that everyone does but this time, the listening part will be focused on. Many people talk but only a little listen. But what does one do in order to become a better listener? Do not fret! Below are ten tips to ensure you become one:
1. Listen more often.
Wondering how to become a better listener? The number one tip is to listen more often. Maybe you are the one often doing the talking that you forget how to listen. It never hurts to lower one’s pride and lengthen one’s patience long enough to just listen to what your partner has to say. Once you train yourself to listen more often, it will come naturally when you are conversing with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
2. Communication is a two-way street.
As mentioned earlier, communication is not one way: when one talks the other listens. These roles are interchanged every now and then. The conflict arises when these roles are not exchanged at all and only one does the talking and only one listens. Bear in mind that you have to remember when to stop talking. Good communication can never be achieved if these roles are not regularly interchanged between two persons in a relationship.
3. Drop your phone.
When talking to your girlfriend or boyfriend especially if it is an important matter, it is vital for you to drop your phone. This shows that you respect the person talking and that you are all ears to what he or she has got to say. It is rude if one keeps checking the phone or fiddling with his or her phone during a face to face conversation. In order to be a better listener, turn your phone into silent mode because those e-mails and notifications can wait.
4. Don’t interrupt.
Another important reminder in order to become a better listener is to never interrupt the one talking. Listen to what he or she is saying and wait until the person is finished and then share your thoughts about the subject. His or her input on the subject matter is just as important as yours. It shows rudeness whenever you interrupt the person speaking. Sometimes, people are so engaged in the subject that they keep on cutting off other people, if you find yourself similar to this, remind yourself to hold your horses and let the others take their turns.
5. Make eye contact.
Imagine talking to someone who never looks at you or looks at everything else but you. As a good listener, it is important to make and maintain eye contact. It shows your girlfriend or boyfriend that you are very much focused on the subject matter. You don’t have to stare them in the eye in order to do this, just a simple casual look will do, depending on the situation. Establishing eye contact also makes a strong impression upon the person speaking that you are indeed ready to listen.
6. Look out for subtle hints.
To be a better listener, one has to take note of the subtle hints. Sometimes you may wonder that after having a casual conversation with your partner, he or she turns moody afterward for an unknown reason. Some people often include subtle hints in their words because they do not want to explicitly express something. For example, if your girlfriend expresses she wants spaghetti for dinner, she may drop hints about it and if you are not a good listener, you may not be able to pick up these hints. Taking notes is important for every listener.
7. Show enthusiasm.
It is never good to converse with someone who shows that he or she is clearly not interested. If you want to be a good listener, you can not just sit there and look at your boyfriend or girlfriend, you have to show that you are enthusiastic. You may do this by initiating the conversation first or seeking ways to expand the conversation or by asking follow-up questions. But if one is not in the mood to talk then it is better to give yourself some space and clearly indicate to your partner that you are not in the right state to have an intelligible discussion.
8. Be patient.
Patience is a virtue, and this virtue is one of the main ingredients on how to become a better listener. In order to listen, you must carry in yourself a very abundant amount of patience. You will surely be needing that whenever your partner complains about something that happened in her or his day. Being patient when you listen allows the person to take their time to fully express what they want to say. If you find yourself to be on the inpatient side, taking deep breaths and setting time intervals for speaking is strongly recommended.
9. Give a proper response.
To become a better listener, you also have to be responsive. It is not an effective communication when only one is talking and the other is merely nodding or shaking his or her head. If you are a good listener you will be able to answer coherently whatever question is thrown at you because you are listening well. Sometimes a yes or not is sufficient enough to answer the subject matter. Keep in mind to engage yourself in the conversation.
10. Take what he or she says into the heart.
This is the same as eating, you can not just eat the food, you also have to digest it. You can not just listen to what he or she has got to say, you also have to take it into the heart. If your partner says something that is bothering him or her, you should pay attention. For example, do not let him or her repeat him or herself when reminding you to do the chores, remember what tasked was assigned to you. This shows that you not only listen, you also apply what you understood from your conversations into your relationship.
Becoming a better listener takes time and a lot of patience. You don’t have to rush yourself in order to be one but instead, you have to allow yourself to make these adjustments little by little especially if you are not the kind of person who is used to listening. Communication works both ways, one must always have time to talk and to listen.