How are your communication skills? When someone, your partner for instance, is telling you something, are you really listening to what they are saying or are you thinking about how you are going to respond to them?

Most of us are guilty of this more times than not! […]

The trick is to listen with an open mind and when the other person has finished speaking, tell them what you think you heard them say. This way you can be sure that you heard them correctly and they know that they were honestly listened to.

For example:

A woman might say to her spouse, partner, etc: “You know, we’ve both been so busy lately that we hardly ever see each other any more. Maybe we should plan some time alone together.”

And the partner might respond: “I think I heard you say that our relationship is being ignored and that we need to spend some time alone together, is that right?”

This is obviously a very simplistic example but when you and your partner are “discussing” an issue that is very important to both of you, it is essential that you are both really listening and hearing what each other is saying. So many times we misinterpret a comment and get angry at the other person before we check it out with them. Sometimes if we listen hard enough, we can even detect the hidden feelings behind the messages. (More on this later)

“We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.”  – Carl. R. Rogers

Developing the ability to listen carefully is one of the primary skills very important to a successful relationship.