The challenge to relationships: how to listen!

Here’s this month’s PAIRS Quick Tips –
Just a minute to invest in your relationship skills! 

The Question:

My partner says I don’t listen, but they talk on and on, and I hardly ever interrupt – isn’t that listening?

Often we can think that we are listening just because we are not talking – but usually our heads are filled with other thoughts about how we plan to respond, stories we have to tell, or other distractions pulling our attention away.  The problem is, this disconnection is felt by our partner and others. 

The Answer:

Learning how to truly listen when our partner is sharing feelings or thoughts they have strong feelings about is a skill.  If your partner is signaling they feel unheard, it’s important to take action – otherwise, they will turn to friends to share those feelings, and your relationship will be wounded.  In conversations that go beyond a daily report of activities, it may work well to signal you want some focused attention.  Perhaps ask for 10-15 minutes where you each have time to share your thoughts on a given subject of interest or concern.  Keep the sharing limited to that 10 – 15 minutes, so attention can stay focused. Consider having the listening partner repeat back the essence of what they are hearing.  In this way, each person can feel heard, understood and not overwhelmed with long, feeling-intense “monologues.” 

I am more at peace with myself than I’ve ever been.  PAIRS has opened my awareness.”  –  Barbara S., NC

PAIRS workshops are offered throughout the year.

See www.PAIRSVirginia.com for details.