SF Counseling Center

Relationships 101: Listening

Listening is one of the most important skills in having, maintaining and growing your relationship.  Given our cultural references of people shouting at and over each other in our entertainment and political spheres, it seems like a brush-up might be useful.

What Listening is a Chance to:

  •  learn what is on the other person’s mind
  •  gain intimacy
  •  show you care about the other person
  •  show you care about who the other person is
  •  feel closer as you potentially come to learn something new about the other person
  •  grow
  •  experience mutuality


What Listening is Not:

  • Something to wait through while you think about what you want to say, or while you wait to make your point, regardless of what the other said.
  • pointless
  • a task to do to show you are a good person
  • passive
  • boring
  • a time to daydream


How to Listen:

  • pay attention to what the other person is saying and how they are saying it
  • actively listen – meaning think about what the other person is saying
  • ask questions is you feel lost, or want to make sure you are on the same page
  • try to visualize the scenario, the people, the place or the situation
  • you don’t need an answer to a problem, listening itself is valuable
  • remember how someone you loved listened to you and how great that felt?  Try to give the other person that same experience.  Truly being heard is a gift.  It costs nothing and means so much.


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