Next time your having a conversation with your partner I want you to notice how you’re listening. Is that voice in your head going off? Are you listening to that voice or to the person in front of you?
We tend to listen so that we can have a rebuttal. We listen so that we can make our own point, or argue. We don’t listen to understand. We don’t listen to accept. If a healthy relationship is built on communication, how do you expect to be in one if you can’t even listen to your partner?
If you want to improve your communication, you should improve how you listen. Next time your find yourself in a conversation with your other half, here are some tips to become a better listener.
Instead of going off into never-never land in your head, try to stay preset. Look your partner in the eye as they speak without any distractions around. Mute the TV and put away your devices. It’s OK if your mind wonders, but notice it and snap it back into the present.
Be patient and listen to what your partner has to say until they are done. You’ll get your turn and when you do, your partner is less likely to interrupt you because you let them say their piece.
DON’T JUDGE OR ASSESS
Don’t listen to judge and assess what the other person is saying. Don’t allow that voice in your head to make the conversation negative. Just listen without commentary from the peanut gallery, and you may actually understand where your partner is coming from.
STOP IF YOU’RE EMOTIONAL
It’s hard to listen when we’re emotional. Our minds are running a hundred miles per hour and there’s no way we can hear what the other person is saying when we are only concerned with how we feel in that moment. Emotions are temporary, but if we only listen from a temporarily emotional state, we can cause our relationship long-term harm.
UNDERSTAND & ACCEPT
The main objective is to listen so you can understand your partner. Understanding does not mean that you agree. It just means that you get that your partner may have a different perspective than you do. By understanding and then accepting that as their reality you can move forward with a solution that works for you both.
Improving your listening over time will help your communication skills and in turn give you a much happier and healthier relationship. If you need more tips on healthier ways to argue, please read my blog post on How To Argue The Right Way.