Bookmark and Share

A Better You
by Jo Ann Fore

Can You Hear Me Now?
The Importance of Active Listening

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” ~Robert McCloskey, Author

Is it hard for you to listen—really listen—to people? Do you, like most of us, find yourself concentrating on what you’re going to say next while the other person is still talking?

In a dating relationship it’s imperative that we learn how to actively listen. If we’re interested in getting to know someone, it’s one of the first steps we should take. It’s our obligation to learn to pay attention to them – to learn to listen.


Active Listening
What is active listening? At the risk of sounding ridiculously obvious: It is when we listen to what someone else says. It’s a relatively simple, intentional action. Yet, few of us grasp its power.

The key to active listening is empathy. When we identify with, and understand, another person’s feelings we can then listen—without obstacles—in the hopes of learning something new about that person. In order to respond in a way that validates what an individual has said, we need deliberate and empathetic listening skills.

Unfortunately, most dating relationships succumb to the first or second level of three potential listening levels:

Inaccurate reflection or distracting comments.

This is where we, the listener, say something completely unrelated to what the person is telling us. We may try to avoid whatever issue is brought up.

For example someone says, “I believe my daughter is doing drugs, and I don’t know what to do for her.” And the person listening says, “What kind of pizza did you want?” The person who shared is going to feel ignored, or unimportant.

A partial correct understanding, but superficial.

The listener doesn’t entirely understand what is being said. The person will most likely feel misunderstood. “That’s not how I feel at all!”

A paraphrase of what the talker is saying.

You repeat back what they have said to you. Your comments express essentially what has been said to you. You heard them, understood them, and they recognize it. “Yes, that’s exactly how I feel.”

How to Listen

Isn’t someone who makes you feel understood worth his or her weight in gold? You can’t help but feel drawn to them. Would you like to be that type of person? For successful communication, your goal should be to learn to converse at level three. There are mistakes – common to many – you can avoid that will help you learn to generate a response that shows you understand what the other person is saying.

First, do not compare your own similar experiences with what the talker is saying. Remember: listen to learn, not to reply. Second, don’t plan what you’re going to say next. The advice that you have to give them isn’t nearly as important as hearing what they say. And lastly, don’t judge. Don’t assume you know what is best without hearing the entire story.

Also keep in mind, in a dating relationship there needs to be a balance. A balance between when you talk and when your date talks. A balance between how much you talk about yourself versus how much you talk about other people. You don’t want there to be one person talking and the other listening all the time.

As you learn to actively listen, your relationship reaps several benefits:

1. Understanding
It shows that you heard and that you understand.

2. Respect
It shows that you care about the person.

3. Clarification
If you have misunderstood, it allows for correction. And even if you disagree, it’s important that you know what you are disagreeing with.

4. Acceptance
It brings you closer to the individual.

If you haven’t been successful in dating, maybe someone has been trying to tell you something – but you just weren’t listening. Or worse, you weren’t interested in what they had to say.

You need to learn to listen, not in order to reply, but rather with the intent of learning something new. You might be amazed at what you hear.

Jo Ann Fore welcomes your comments about this article or suggestions for material you would like to see in future articles. Email her at: A Better You is published every Saturday.


> - The best approach to find the one. <

All Online Dating Magazine content, including the content on this page,
is © copyright by Online Dating Magazine and may not be
republished or reused in any form. You do have
full permission to link to this article.

Do you agree or disagree with this article? Have
more to add? Submit a Letter to the Editor today or post a comment below.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Statement | Code of Ethics Statement
Bookmark Online Dating Magazine at

>View Online Dating Magazine Singles Travel Adventures<

Online Dating | News | Columns | Features | Dating Services | Niche Dating
Online Dating Directory | Dating Humor | Quick Tip Articles | Online Dating Industry
Industry History
| Online Dating Reviews | Reader Reviews | Dating Videos | Book / DVD Reviews
Reader Letters | Self Improvement | Experiences | Newsletter | Interviews
Top 10 Lists | STD Info Center | About Us | Advertise
Media Center
| FAQ | Search | Contact | Dating Promotions

Dating Cartoons | Dating Jokes | Funny Dating Videos | Dating Games

Online Dating Magazine Needs Your Help!

All content on this Website is ©copyright by Online
Dating Magazine. All Rights Reserved. The content
on this site may not be reused or republished.

Are you an online dating site Webmaster? If so...
If you are looking for free dating content you can republish, click here



Advertise on
Online Dating Magazine



Stay Up to Date:

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us on YouTube

Follow Us on Facebook


10 Most Viewed Articles:

Online Dating Tips
Opposites Attract
Online Dating Safety Tips
Rose Colors
Guys are Weird
Dating Games
Online Dating Reviews
Creative Date Ideas
Long Distance Relationships
Dealing with a Breakup

Other Resources:

These links will take you away from Online Dating Magazine.

Google (Google Your Date)
Research Dating Service)

MailOrderBride Guide

Note: Online Dating Magazine does not sell text links anywhere on the site, so please don't email asking about text links. Any links we have are affiliate links, resources we find useful, links to other sites we run or long-time magazine sponsors. We do have graphic ad options in our Advertising section.