January, 2019 | Nelumbo Consultancy

Empathetic Listening – The Key to Your Good Relationship

Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Lack of communication can jeopardize years of affiliation, break the strongest of bonds, and infect your relationship like a termite. Thus, it is important to develop good communication and level of understanding with people, especially with the one you are considering to spend the rest of your life.

Many people are able to effectively communicate their needs to their better half, but fail miserably when it comes to listening. Presumably, they do not acknowledge the fact that communication is a two-way street, and listening is equally important perhaps a more vital element of a communication, which allows a relationship to thrive and remain intact.

Are you a good listener? Yes… maybe, but are you an empathetic listener? You must be wondering “What is empathetic listening?” Well, empathetic listening goes beyond simply hearing out a person. It is about really understanding what a person is saying without forming a judgment, allowing them to freely express themselves.

Empathy is about creating an emotional connection with another, understanding their feelings, learning their insights, and showing compassion. People make this mistake and confuse empathy with sympathy. While sympathy may make you feel ‘for someone’, empathy actually makes you feel ‘as someone’.

How To Become An Empathetic Listener?

Not everyone has the natural ability to perceive how others feel and listen with compassion and empathy, but that does not mean that you cannot develop the art of being an empathetic listener. These are some of the points that you should remember:

  • When you are listening to a person, provide them your undivided attention. This means no multi-tasking, texting on phone, or working on your laptop, but leaving everything aside and listening to them carefully. Letting them know that their feelings are of paramount importance and your utmost priority can go a long way and create a big difference.
  • Do not form a judgment or opinion. We tend to form an opinion and overthink the simplest things which create unnecessary complications. It may seem to us that we understand but we don’t. Listening without any preconceived notion is what makes listening effective and empathetic.
  • Read the speaker’s emotions and body language. Do not solely focus on words, but try to understand what aggravated them to utter those words. They must be feeling hurt, angry, or perhaps resentful, thus it is only fair that you acknowledge their emotions and sentiments.
  • Let them know that you understand. Active listening is one of the components of empathetic listening. Letting the speaker know that you understand their perspective and validating their feelings can be extremely reassuring.
  • Just Listen. It may sound simple, but actually is the most critical element of empathetic listening. Sometimes a person just wants someone to be there for them to listen and want nothing else in return, no solution, no opinion, and no favor, but just a person to be there and listen to them. So consider listening with the intent of understanding rather than with the intent to reply.

These pointers may help you to become a better listener, help address issues in your relationship, and learn things that were previously left unsaid, but it is imperative that you listen to the person with genuine interest and compassion rather than for the sake of it to ensure that you are listening correctly and effectively.

Have you ever wondered why people are so comfortable when speaking to God? Because they know that God is mute and will listen to them without giving an advice, letting them figure out things by themselves. Being an empathetic listener is about providing freedom, a safe space for a person to talk an express their true self and vent out all the emotions that were trapped inside their heart.

How To Know If You Are An Empathetic Listener?

Well, if you are forming an opinion or judgment while the other person is speaking to you, then you are hearing, not listening, let alone being an empathetic listener. Thus, it is critical to resist the urge of framing a thought or response while the person is conversing so you can truly listen and understand what they are trying to communicate. Perhaps the word listen contains the same letters of silent for a reason.

Furthermore, in case a person has communicated their story and want your opinion, it is critical that you respond in a very sensitive and precise manner. Words are powerful, when articulated in a right way, they can alter someone’s belief and make a profound impact on their life. Thus, choose your words carefully. When a person communicates, they entrust you with their words and feelings, hence it is important that you assure them that they did the right thing and can talk to you again without having a second thought.

Good relationships don’t just happen out of nowhere but require patience and willingness of the person who wants to be together. Understanding and listening to your significant other will help you to maintain a healthy and thriving relationship. Connect with one of our counsellor today to help you in rediscovering yourself and make you a better, active, and empathetic listener.

Building Good Relationship Is A Skill

As beautiful as relationships are, aren’t they the most exhausting experiences too, wrapped around in relationships? Isn’t the most frustrating situation for anyone is when the person before you does not understand you and your true intentions no matter how open you try to be with them and how eager you are to maintain a leveled relation with them? You then dive in the pool of your deprecating thoughts thinking over and over again as to what are you doing wrong here and what can you do to fix it?

We have all met with or know someone who knows someone who is a happy go lucky person, always high-spirited and liked by everyone and rarely do you see them caught in any sort of discord. How do they do it? What is it that sets them recurringly apart from you? Are they just born lucky, abundantly blessed and with people skills? Maybe yes or maybe no. We cannot tell you that but what we can tell you is that you too can master the similar skill sets and brush up your own uniqueness just by following a few sets of rules, practice them and learn them by heart and you’d be climbing the good relationship ladder skills in no time. Here’s what you need to do.

Judgmental or Intrusive Attitude

Nobody wants to be judged, let alone be friends with a person who judges, you are just not comfortable around such a person. Judgment is never positive and portrays you off as someone who is probably opinionated and does not want to hear or know the other persons side of the story. Resulting in other people not feeling secure neither opening up around them about their true self.

Although being intrusive is on the very far side of the scale but they, in my opinion, are equals and opposites. How? Well, when you judge, you create an unseen wall between the two of you, establishing you two have thick boundaries thus keeping people at bay while being intrusive is when you have no concept of boundaries with people. Giving out a clear message that you do not care or respect privacy obviously making you a threat to them. On the contrary practice the ‘live and let live attitude’, don’t judge and don’t intrude.

Appreciation and Constructive Criticism

Nobody comes running back to you to share, every time they receive a positive or negative feedback from elsewhere, faster than that person you always make feel like they matter. When you are honest and realistic but not brutal with your comments and compliments, people care about what you have to tell them. Be that person who encourages and bolsters people’s positive traits and strength. Even when the bitter truth needs to be told, don’t sugar coat it or give it to their face flatly but with the comment that allows them to know how this can be fix, let your criticism be constructive and let your attitude be helpful and compassionate.

Active Listening – Best Form of Communication

When you listen to people without interrupting them or without the need of wanting to have your say first, eager to let your opinion out, your likeability increases immediately. Everyone wants to be heard, to be cared for, to be accepted and you give this to them by listening and trying to understand what they actually have to say. Listen attentively, ask occasional questions and indulge with them. This allows them to be comfortable as no one’s more interested in you than someone who feels comfortable in your presence.

Show Genuine Interest

Yes, please! Show them you are genuinely interested in their stories in their problems, their happiness and all that concerns them so they feel valued. Do not sit there looking bored and distracted when they speak and space out not hearing a word they said. Or other similar things, like not remembering their special moments or occasions. Initiate in asking them how they were after their big interview yesterday or anything else that you consider of importance to them. Be there for them if they are counting on you and you can provide assistance. Connect on an emotional level, nothing touches a person more deeply than being emotionally touched.

Never Fake an Attitude

Most important. DO NOT BE FAKE. All the above points will only be able to make any real impact on them, when you are doing it out of the goodness of your heart and not because you have a hidden agenda like for instance you want a promotion so you are nice to the boss and the peers during those times, or if you need a favor from someone so you follow the act.

Even if you manage to fool people for the time being, it wouldn’t last long because word spreads. Thus, it would serve you the best and for the long run if you choose to deal with everyone with a genuine and honest self. In case you don’t particularly like someone, no worries, you don’t have to pretend to like them but neither should you be downright rude so they get the point. Instead, understand that there’s a field of neutrality where you can stay polite and nice while still maintaining an arm’s length from them.

Not everything is easy, yes simple perhaps but not easy. That is why when you practice being genuine and honest you practice simplicity which eventually gets easier with time. If you think this made sense to you then connect with us on our websites and one of our psychologists will be able to help you further in your journey to build valuable relationships while honing your interpersonal skills.

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