Are You a Good Listener?


headphone dog
If you get better at listening, your re1ationships will too. Here are 12 listening blocks to ponder.

6. Dreaming. While you are listening half-way, you hear the person talking to you say something ... and all of a sudden you're playing flashbacks in your head that have nothing to do with the conversation. We tend to daydream when we are either bored or anxious. We all do it, but if you find yourself daydreaming a lot with specific people, it may mean you are not appreciating them, committed to the relationship, and you do not value what they have to say.

For example, your mom is talking to you about going to the doctor for her asthma. Cheese and crackers would be great to serve when the neighbors come over to carve pumpkins. And the next thing you hear your mom say is: "Thanks, honey, I always knew I could count on you to tell me what to do."


7. Identifying. You take anything and everything a person is telling you, and refer it back to what has happened to you. Whatever they are saying reminds you of something that has happened to you, you've felt, or suffered through — and you are so busy busting into the conversation to tell your own story, before they've finished, that you neglect to hear or get to know the other person better.

For example, a co-worker is talking about his broken toe, but this reminds you of when you stubbed your toe, and then your boyfriend stepped on it, and then your dog sat on it ... Bored In Bed? 3 Ways To Spice Up Your Relationship

8. Advising. You love solving problems and are there to offer help and suggestions. Heck, you're so good, you don't even need to listen to the full story, how the person felt or what they were thinking. Instead you are thinking up solutions and how you can convince someone to "try it," before you've heard what is most important to them — and that could just be having someone listen to them re-tell their story, acknowledge their feelings, and just be there.

9. Sparring. This block has you arguing and debating with people. Consequently, the other person never feels heard, because you're so quick to disagree. In fact, a lot of your focus is on finding things to disagree with. You take strong stands, are very clear about your beliefs and preferences. The way to avoid sparring is to repeat back and acknowledge what you have heard. You could also find one thing they have said that you do agree with and start the conversation from there.

The put-down is another form of sparring. When you do this you use sarcastic remarks as a way to dismiss the other person's point of view. Your wife is cleaning up the dishes and sighs. You say, "why don't you use your brain today, use the dishwasher so you can finish faster." You're feeling neglected, and want more of her attention, and you think this will help her finish up and pay attention to you.

Her reply is, "Unlike you putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher, I actually like the dishes to be clean when I unload the dishwasher so I don't have to spend more time washing them again!" These kinds of replies can push you into hostile retorts. Why You Should Never Fight When You're Furious

Discounting is another form of sparring. You do this when you are unable to withstand or accept compliments. "Oh, making fondue from scratch was nothing really ..." The other person will often feel run down or discouraged, because they are trying to show their appreciation, and you are not acknowledging their feeling of thanks.

10. Being Right. Being right means you will go to any lengths (twist the facts, start shouting, make excuses or accusations, call up past sins) to avoid being wrong. You cannot listen to criticism, you cannot be corrected, and you cannot take suggestions to change. Your convictions are unshakable. And since you will not acknowledge that your mistakes are mistakes, you just keep making them.

11. Derailing. You change the subject, either because you are uncomfortable or bored with the topic. It could be you want to avoid feeling anxious, so you’ll make jokes or quips, so that you don’t have to have a serious conversation.

12. Placating. You like it when people like you, so you agree with everything. You like to be seen as pleasant, supportive, nice. Sometimes you may say things like, "Right … oh, absolutely … I know … mm-hmm, of course … really? ... Oh sure, I think that too…" Instead of tuning in and examining what is being said, you may listen half-way to get the drift, so you can placate, but never really get involved.

This article was originally published at Lifetime 2 Love. Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Lyndsay Katauskas


Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Active Relationships Facilitator



Facebook: Positive Relationships
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Location: West Point, NY
Credentials: Med, Other
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