Communication is the foundation of any healthy and strong relationship. Sure, you are good at talking, but have you wondered how you are at listening? Communication is not just about you doing the talking; it also involves listening to your partner. There are lots of people out there who say they listen when their partner talks, but they don’t really do it. They just nod their heads, make the right noises and wait for their turn to talk. All you can think about is when it will be your turn. Think about how you would feel if you are on the receiving end?
You are going to be angry and frustrated and not pleased with your partner at all and they will feel the same if you do it to them. You need to understand the difference between passive and active listening. Active listening means you are giving your undivided attention to your partner and actually understanding what they are saying. This means you are not busy planning out your schedule in your head or trying to figure out a rebuttal. Actively listening to your partner is going to strengthen your relationship. It is a great way of avoiding destructive misunderstandings and can even prevent breakups in the long term.
But, how to become a good listener? Here are some great tips that can help you do that:
- Pay attention to the littlest things
Most people make the mistake of assuming that small things don’t matter all that much, but they really do. You are going to hurt your partner more than you know if you don’t pay attention to seemingly small requests and favors. It may seem like nothing to you and you just ignore it because you were too busy, but it may be a pretty big deal for your partner. There is going to be a reason why they asked you for something and your ignorance is going to hurt big time, but if you pay attention, it will brighten their day.
- Deal with their feelings
You might get uncomfortable when your partner opens up to you about their feelings or starts crying. But, you are a grownup and this is a part of relationships, which means you cannot turn away from it. You cannot just expect to have good times all the time. A good relationship is one when you are together during good times and bad as well. Don’t belittle them when they share feelings with you and don’t ignore their feelings either. This is only going to make them resentful. You can also be vulnerable with them. In fact, this might make it easier for you to handle their vulnerabilities.
- Put your phone down
One of the biggest reasons why relationships are ending these days is because you are too busy on your phone. Sure, smartphones have brought a lot of convenience in our lives, but they are also a nuisance in some situations. When you are together at the end of the day, your partner wants to have your time and attention. It can be extremely infuriating to see you busy on your phone and only listening with half an ear. Passive listening is insulting and can damage your relationship considerably.
- Never ignore their doubts
Your partner may have voiced the doubts they have about your relationship. Never make the mistake of shrugging their doubts off or dismissing them as baseless. There is a good reason why these doubts have sprung up and you need to listen to why they have felt them instead of brushing things under the carpet. Your indifference about the problems in your relationship can be a major cause of concern for your partner and the doubts are going to come creeping out again.
- Don’t just jump in
When your partner is talking, you might remember something you wanted to tell them or you want to answer something they have said. But, it is always best for you to wait your turning. Sure, it is tempting to cut them off and just jump in and say what you have to say. However, this is going to break their chain of thought and they will not be able to say what was on their mind. You need to stay relaxed and calm when your partner is talking and not get fidgety. Wait for your turn.
- Care about what they are saying
It is easy for you to pretend to care about what they are saying because you know it is going to get them off your back and you can go do whatever it is you were doing before they started talking. Yet, this is not the solution. If you want your relationship to work, you have to care about what your partner is saying. You should value their thoughts, opinions and ideas and pay attention to them genuinely rather than just thinking of it as a means to an end.
- Never ignore their nagging
Don’t you just hate it when your partner nags? Yes, it frustrates and annoys you a lot. But, have you ever thought about why they are doing it? Why has your partner started nagging you? It is only because you have stopped listening. They may have been telling you something for a while and you are just not paying attention, leaving them no choice but to nag. So, it is better if you pay attention and figure out that the only reason they are nagging is because you have forced them into it.
- Don’t get stubborn
You had finally made up your mind to listen to your partner and do what they were saying, but at that moment, they storm into the room and demand that you do it. This brings out your stubbornness and now you don’t want to do it. This can actually cost you your relationship. Don’t let your stubborn nature get in the way and listen to your partner. You are both going to be happier for it.