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How to Improve Your Listening Skills in Your Relationship

 

Listening to your sweetheart is at the very heart of any healthy and happy relationship, but being a good listener can take some work. After all, you may be hearing what your partner is saying to you, but are you actively paying attention and truly understanding what your partner is (or isn’t) expressing to you?

The question still remains—are you really listening? The good news is that you can take action right now to become a better listener and consequently enjoy a better relationship.


Why is listening so important in a relationship? Listening is an integral part of communication, and being able to effectively and openly communicate with your partner plays a key role in any strong, successful and lasting relationship. In fact, by failing to be a good listener, numerous problems, misunderstandings and disagreements, both big and small, can arise. And in many cases, these conflicts could’ve been easily avoided, prevented or resolved if you’d been able to clearly listen to your partner.

Did you pay attention when your boyfriend told you about his problem at work? Were you tuned in when your girlfriend mentioned your dinner plans for Saturday night? Did you hear her when she expressed her profound dislike of man buns? Are you sick and tired of being accused of not listening?


How can you be a better listener in your relationship? Luckily, there are immediate steps you can take right now to hone your listening skills and put an end to these useless fights, disagreements and misunderstandings.


1. Practice engaged and mindful listening. In order to thoroughly and completely listen to your partner, you need to be present in the moment and be fully engaged in what your partner is expressing. Stop thinking about your work project, or watching TV or staring at your phone playing Words with Friends.

Instead, actively listen to the actual words that your partner is saying to you. No more distractions or interruptions. In fact, you shouldn’t even be forming a response yet in your mind about what to say to your partner in return. Rather, completely focus on what your partner is expressing to you and give him or her your undivided focus and attention so you can break down any divides between the two of you.


2. Pay attention to non-verbal cues. In order to truly understand what your partner is saying, it’s also important to focus on his or her non-verbal actions. It’s been said that approximately 80% of communication is non-verbal, so it’s time to work on expanding your non-verbal vocabulary. Pay attention to your partner’s body language. Are his arms crossed? Is he using hand gestures? What are his facial expressions?

You should also concentrate on the pitch, tone, speed and volume of the words themselves, as all of these factors can help clue you in as to what your partner is really trying to express. It’s not only the words themselves, but the way they are being communicated to you. Listen with your ears, eyes as well as your heart. 


3. Respond responsibly. Once you have fully committed to listening to your partner with uninterrupted and undistracted thoughts, the next step is to put into your own words what was expressed to you when you are forming your response. Whether your reply is in agreement with your partner or not, you’re showing your partner that you were actively listening and doing your very best to understand his or her point of view.

If your partner tells you that she’d like you to notify her if you’re running late to meet her, instead of replying with “Sure,” “Fine” or even a nod, take your response a step further and answer with “Next time I will remember to text or call if I’m running late.” By clearly rephrasing and rearticulating what you heard, you can help clear up any confusion on both ends and put an end to ineffective listening once and for all.


4. Have patience. Like any skill or technique, becoming a better listener doesn’t happen overnight. However, by practicing these methods each day, whether you’re talking with your girlfriend, coworker or even the barista at your local coffee shop, you’ll be able to listen, observe and understand others on an entirely new level. “Hear’s” to that!



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Love Magazine: How to Improve Your Listening Skills in Your Relationship
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