ERP 036: How To Offer The Gift Of Listening
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Listening in Your Relationship
Applying listening skills in an intimate relationship is not realistic in every moment you are together. However, if you can show up for your partner on occasion (especially when they have strong feelings about something) then this type of deep listening can transform the quality of your relationship, helping you feel closer, connected, and more intimate.
It’s easy to think you are listening but are you really? When you know your partner so well, it is likely you can look at them and read their cues and have a pretty good sense of what is going on. However, if you don’t pause to deeply listen, you can get into the position of assuming or missing your partner completely.
(This page contains my podcast show notes. Be sure to listen to the episode to hear stories, examples, and more tips.)
Listening in Relationship Is Not:
- Waiting to talk
- Judging or evaluating
- Offering advice or solutions
- Agreeing or disagreeing
- Assuming you know
- Multitasking, being distracted, or preoccupied
How to Listen Better In a Relationship:
- Offer your undivided attention, where your focus is exclusively on your partner and you are giving your full attention
- Give good eye contact
- Be engaged and offer non-verbal cues (i.e. head nodding, utterances)
- Be present – focus on the here and now
- Be available and receptive
- Offer genuine interest and curiosity
- Be patient
- Appreciate your partner’s perspective
- Seek to understand and look for the sense and positive aspect.
Benefits of Listening Skills in Relationship:
- Keeps you from getting defensive
- Helps you suspend judgement
- Prevents misunderstandings
- Helps you gain new information, as well as learn something new
- Offers the opportunity to find a shared goal or common ground
- Helps your partner know they will feel heard and understood
- Helps your partner feel important, special, and that they matter to you
- Demonstrates you are there for them
- Creates intimacy, closeness, and strengthens the emotional bond
- Offers goodwill
How To Listen Better in a Relationship:
Matt @ PEK from Taipei, Taiwan
Ask for the time
- Be explicit and state your desire for listening – don’t want feedback or suggestions.
- Do not interrupt your partner’s activity and expect or demand that they listen immediately. You want to offer respect and consideration while asking for a moment of their time.
- If your partner is wanting your attention right away and you need more time to respond, state that you need a moment to think about it.
- Try to listen only when you are in a good position. If you have limited energy to give, schedule another time.
How to Offer Active Listening in Relationship. Here Are Some Responses to Consider:
- “I am interested in what you are saying, would you like to say more? Can you tell me more?”
- Ask a question to learn more.
- Offer reflection of the content and emotion. “Wow, that sounds frustrating.” “I am getting that ______.”
- Check out what you are hearing, or clarify “So, you are saying is ___________.”
- “If I imagine myself in that situation, I would feel ________________.”
- “What is the hardest part? What is the most significant part to you?”
- “What are you really wanting me to get?”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
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If you are interested in developing new skills to meet relationship challenges, please consider taking the Empowered Relationship Course or getting some relationship coaching.