Bookmark and Share

by Kim Lance, associate publisher of Online Dating Magazine

Listening: An Essential Part of Communication

Throughout this column I have given advice about how to stay in touch during time spent apart, tips to understand the different communication techniques between men and women, what gifts and body language says about you and your relationship, and the problems associated with jealousy. So far, attention has not been given to one of the most important factors in building and maintaining a strong, successful connection between partners – listening. For any relationship to succeed, partners must learn how to listen to each other.

Being An Effective Listener Isn’t Easy
Although it doesn’t require many words, the art of listening can often be one of the most difficult communication skills to learn and implement during relationships. It may come as a surprise but the act of listening, without making judgments, placing blame or becoming distracted, is extremely difficult for many people. When listening to your partner (or anyone important to you for that matter) it is important to stay attentive and focused on what your partner is saying. Although you may not be able to help it at first, it is important to avoid your urge to immediately plan how you will respond in your head and its also important never to get distracted mid-conversation.


How many times has the following happened to you? You have something really important to say to someone and as you start to explain the other person starts tidying up the living room or, worse yet, checking their watch or cell phone for the time. They may even go so far as to say "Oh, don’t worry, I’m listening" as they bustle about the house picking up while you try to talk to them. Or what about this scenario – you are mid conversation and the other person interrupts to say "I can’t believe he said that, here is how I would respond". Both situations, while different responses, still give you the feeling that you are not getting 100% of your partner’s attention.

Giving your full attention is an essential way to communicate to your partner that what they say is important to you. I’m sure you would agree that your partner deserves your full and complete attention when they have something important to say. It is never polite to get distracted or interrupt, and, even if you feel totally comfortable with your significant other, this still applies to your relationship too. Filing your nails while your boyfriend explains his stresses at work might seem trivial, but you are giving the impression that you don’t really care about what your boyfriend is saying or that filing your nails takes precedence over listening to him.

If you have been in a relationship for a while, it is not very difficult to know when your partner is upset or concerned about something or when they just really want to talk, whether about positive things or things that are upsetting them. If you partner needs to get something off of their mind or says “I have to tell you something” or “I really need to talk to you” this is a red flag that you need to give them 100% of your attention.

Listening without interrupting shows that you respect your partner and it also builds trust within a relationship. If your partner knows that you will be there to listen to them without seeming distracted or judgmental, they will trust you with whatever is on their mind. With the trust comes a deeper connection built between the two of you. As you become a better listener, your partner will not only open up and share more, but may also learn to be a more effective listener to you through your example.

Five Tips On How To Be A Better Listener
So, the question remains, how can you become a better listener? The key is to free your mind of your own way of thinking, learn to understand things from your partner’s point of view, and avoid seeming distracted by other factors. Here are a few tips you can use to become a better listener:

Tip #1: Stay Focused On Your Partner
If your partner starts talking to you, sit down and look directly at your partner. Do not do anything else, just listen. Now is not the time to multitask. Don’t tidy up, don’t mess with your hair, don’t picking lint off of your partner’s sweater. This is a time where you will listen, and only listen.

Tip #2: Don’t Interrupt
Do not interrupt as your partner is speaking. If your partner is telling you a story, simply nod or say “yes” or “uh huh” in agreement as a sign that you are listening and will continue to listen. When your partner pauses or asks you what you think you can then join the conversation with thoughts. The key here is to not just give the impression that you are listening, but to actually listen! By not worrying about what you can say as a response, you are freeing yourself to really hear your partner.

Tip #3: Summarize What Your Partner Said
If there comes a time where you can give your input, first summarize back to your partner what they have said and make sure you fully understand what they are feeling. It could be as simple as, for example, “So you are saying that you were hurt by the comments your sister made about your child rearing capabilities?” Once they confirm that that is how they are feeling, you can better see things from their point of view. By getting that confirmation from your partner, they know that you were listening and that you both are on the same page.

Tip #4: Don't Judge or Jump to Conclusions
Following a story with “you should have done this” or “I think that is silly” will negate all efforts you had to show that you are a good listener. If you are thinking in your own mind how you would respond or what your partner should do or should have done then you are not truly listening or understanding your partner. Don't assume you know how their story will end either. Allow them to conclude their own story rather than jumping to conclusions. Remember – just listen.

Tip #5: Bring It Up Later
An effective way to prove to your partner that you listen to them is to ask them about it later. If your girlfriend explains her anxieties about a new job, ask her the next day if she is feeling any better about it. This will show your loved one that you took to heart what they had said and were thinking about it even past the initial conversation.

Practice Makes Perfect
Clearing your mind of your own judgments and ideas while listening to others can be very difficult for many, but, like many things in life, it can become easier with practice. You will not be an expert listener off the bat, but the more you try to be, the better you will become. And the more you are there for your partner, the more they will confide in you.

Allowing your partner to openly share his or her thoughts, dreams, and fears with you by improving your ability to listen will be a huge step toward a deeper connection within the relationship. As long as the lines of communication are always open and you are there to listen as well as share, with time you and your partner will have a solid foundation of trust and openness that will last for years to come .

> - 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.