SKILL/ CONCEPT TO UNDERSTAND
HOW TO BE A GREAT LISTENER
Building love and trust involves LISTENING to our partners, which is not as easy as it sounds.
Asking the right questions, empathizing, and making someone feel understood are skills that can dramatically increase intimacy in any relationship.
To help you learn how to do this, I recommend that you check in with your partner. You will ask/check in with “how are you doing?”, not out of politeness, but because you really want to know.
STEPS TO BEING A GREAT LISTENER:
STEP ONE: PREPARE YOURSELF
- Shift the focus away from yourself
- Postpone your own agenda
- It's about being interested in your partner
- Tune into your partner's world
- Hear your partner's pain even if you don't agree with a details
- Try to see your partner's world from his perspective not you're a
STEP TWO: ATTUNE
That means it's your job as a listener to be present with your partner. Do not minimize your partner's feelings. When you listen, do not take responsibility for your partner's feelings. Do not try to make your partner feel better. Do not try to cheer your partner up. Just tune into how your partner is feeling.
Your goal is to just understand.
- Ask questions period and listen to the answers.<
- Follow up on the answers you get.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Avoid judgment.
- Avoid being advice unless it is asked for.
- Communicate respect.
- Communicate empathy.
- Be critical.
- Be judgmental.
- Be defensive.
- Engage in put downs
STEP THREE: REFLECT BACK WHAT YOU HEAR
A big part of listening is witnessing. That means you listen, so your partner doesn't feel so alone.
Powerful way to witness and be there for your partner is to repeat back in your own words what you have heard your partner saying. You can say something like,
- “I hear you saying… (fill in the blank with your own words) … and that makes sense to me why you would feel that way, because… (fill the blank in with your own words).”
- For example, you may witness your partners sadness like this:
- “I hear you saying it gets worse at night, and that you really miss the times we used to go out for Chinese food and a movie. I miss those times, too.”