We all know that effective communication and listening skills are important for a relationship to be successful, but don’t forget it also applies when you’re dating. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place,” said George Bernard Shaw.
Recently I was engrossed in a couple’s conversation on the London Tube. After listening to them for only a few moments, I noticed that one of them was not listening to a word the other was saying. After this encounter, I started to wonder about the basic elements needed to make a relationship work. As I pondered the thought I began to realize that most of us have been taught that communication is the most important element for a relationship to work.
I agree communication is one aspect that cannot be ignored but after listening to this couple, I realized that we only hear what we want to hear. In order to have a successful relationship, not only is communication crucial, listening is imperative. As you get more experienced with life and dating, you learn to read between the lines, which simply means; you start listening with understanding and empathy.
To experience empathy, you have to put yourself in the other person’s place and allow yourself to feel what it is like to be him at that moment. This is not an easy thing to do. It takes energy and concentration. But it is a generous and helpful thing to do, and it facilitates communication like nothing else does. (Forbes)
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen” – Ernest Hemingway
The truth is most people are too polite to say what they really think, so you have to truly listen to what they mean to say, not what you would like them to say.
Do you recall listening to someone complain about his or her day and the first thing that you said was, “Stop complaining” or “Get over it;” or the last time you shared your innermost thoughts with someone only to have them ignored?
In these moments “reading between the lines” is most important because once you start listening you’re able to respond in a way that shows that you care and a sign that whatever they have to say actually matters. Plus, you’ll find yourself saying things like, “You will be able to do it,” “Everyone feels this way at the beginning.” You are thereby offering up support, giving attention, and reaffirming the other person’s feelings and emotions, which is exactly what all relationships require to succeed.
Listening will also enable you to understand and translate the true meanings of the many dating clichés we hear from time to time:
1. “I’m not ready for a relationship right now” translates to “You’re not the one.”
2. “It’s not you, it’s me” translates to “It IS you but I don’t want to hurt your feeling.”
3. “Let’s just be friends…” – “… Looooong distance friends.”
Research has found that by listening effectively, you will get more information from the people you date; you will increase others’ trust in you; you will reduce conflict; you will better understand how to motivate each other; and you will inspire a higher level of commitment in the person you’re in a relationship with.
As an effective listener, you are able to help your partner discover her/his feelings about a particular problem she/he is having. When you are able to set your own emotions aside for the time being, you can rest assured that the probability of your partner being able to listen, when you have something to talk about later, will be a lot higher. (Good Therapy)