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Are You a Good Listener?

Updated on July 14, 2014

The Art of Listening

These are the signs of a poor listener

It takes a special trait to be a good listener. This unfortunately is lacking in the majority of people. The theory of conversation is it is a two way street. This is true. It though stops there for most people. I have broken the poor listener types down into three categories. Perhaps, you will see one that might represent you.

The first type is the person who is waiting for the first person to finish, so they can leap in with their daily events. They really are not hearing what the person is saying, because their mind is on what they wish to share.

The second type is the person who constantly interrupts the speaker. They are not paying attention either, for their need to talk is priority. These first two types might give a slight acknowledgment of the person’s comment. In truth it is similar to a gentle pat on someone’s head.

The third type of conversationalist is the fix it person. They are always offering suggestions to help the person fix their problem, versus just letting them speak of their pain. Sadly, this is the area I am guilty of, though am working through it.

All three types do not validate the person speaking. Their conversation in the eye and ears of the two first types is nil, while the last type is too busy wanting to resolve this person’s troubles.

All three of these types of listeners, leave the talker feeling not validated. They might feel themselves shrinking inside, and unimportant. This sadly is the way of the majority of conversations.

A Good Listener

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Trait of a Good Listener

The trait of a good listener

The trait of a good listener is they listen completely. This is done with their body, mind and soul. They do not have the need to jump in about their day, or to try to fix you. They listen, and validate your feelings. It doesn’t matter if what you are experiencing is self-pity, they validate the feeling. They are not out to fix you, for this is not a means in acknowledging how you feel. If they are face to face with you, they watch your body language, instead of trying to figure what to do next. They know your body language will invite them closer or keep them at a distance, which they honor. If they are on the phone or Internet, or in your presence, they wait for you pause, and remain pause themselves. This pause is to help the talker to catch their breath, as well as leaving space to continue. This pause is usually long. When the person does not continue speaking after a while, the person listening will validate them. They still are letting the talker lead the conversation. If this person ask the listener a question, they reply only to that question.

Friendship and Communication

Difference between Good and Poor Listeners

The differences between this type of listener and the 3 types of poor listeners are easy to see. The good listener will not bring up their daily events, unless asked. If they do, they wait until the person has finished. While the talker is sharing, the listener is paying 100 percent on their words. If this person is having a depressive, anxiety or off-day, they will not add their own problems to it. Even though they might wish to share this with the person, they know the person has little energy to absorb their issues at that moment. They will wait another time, or speak to another person.

A good listener also knows their own limits. If they are having a difficult day, they know it is best to tell that person such, and ask if they can talk later. A good listener knows if they cannot give of themselves fully, they will not be 100 percent available. This they would not wish to do to another, so being honest is mandatory.

A poor listener listens out of rites of obligation. They know they cannot be totally available to the person, but listen anyway. They were right, they could not listen completely. Instead they are nodding or giving sweet words to calm the person, but focus on their own crises of the day. When there is a pause in the conversation, they take siege of it, and download the other person with their problems, providing they haven’t interrupt the speaker several times already.

The reaction of the speaker with each type of this listener is easy to see as well. The speaker, with the first three poor listeners is made to feel unimportant. They may become quiet, and just listen to the other person. After all, they figure what is concerning them is more important. If this type of experience is common to the speaker, they might eventually stop talking to others about their problems. They probably will feel they are invisible to the world. They become quiet. Another method is to use the poor listening skills they might have, and neither person is heard.

The one who looks to fix this person, becomes agitated in having to fix them, if they don’t listen, while the speaker resents the listener from not really hearing them. This type of listener will only agitate the speaker, and cause this person to withdraw.

How to be a good listener

Being Heard and Validated

We all need to be validated. We all need to be heard.

In life, we need to be heard and validated. We need to feel free to have a joy-fest or a pity party without guilt. Our joy-fests are not always received well either. Our accomplishments are often pass by quickly, and we must get scooted back to our wounds. A good listener will celebrate with us. I feel when we can speak in depth of our successes, our wounds will begin to melt.

We all have times of ups and downs. If we can share this with others freely, and be heard we will do better. If we can give people amble amount of time to share, without having to speak of our wounds or success at the same time, people would begin to feel that their thoughts and feelings mean something. It is sad lot to feel you are invisible to the world. When a person feels they do not matter, they have not experience a good listener

Love of our Friends

An invitation to be my friend

Responsibility of Listening and Talking

In closure, we must also be responsible for what we can handle on any given day. There are days we just cannot listen, so be honest. It is not a sin to postpone listening. A good listener is a gem. We also need to not wear them out constantly. When you are having several days of darkness, it is okay to share, but just not every day. Some days we have to just feel our pain, and get through it. When in a depression, you might want to follow these suggestions written in this hub.


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    • Renee Abbott profile image

      Renee Abbott 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you Billy

      Yes, sad but true the art of listening is gone. I am hoping this hub will alert people to improve this art in their own life.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is so important. I am amazed by how many people do not know how to listen. So many just want to give their opinion, or give advice, when all a person needs is to have someone listen to them. Great points made here.