Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 19 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Branwalator of Jersey
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

3 Characteristics of real listeners


Shutterstock | fizkes

Dolors Massot - published on 01/26/20

Are you a good listener? Check yourself against these three things.

Conversation is a very important part of our relationships with others. By talking to each other, we clear up doubts, grow in friendship, and learn more about other ways of seeing life. Who doesn’t yearn to find someone who actually listens—a friend who can be trusted and to whom we can turn when we are going through a complicated situation that we don’t know how to deal with alone. Yet, not all conversations are equally beneficial. Finding someone who really listens is not always easy. Most of us tend to want to talk more than we listen.

Listening is a manifestation of love for the other person. It means being more interested in the other person than in ourselves for a while, opening ourselves to hear them and help them if we can by the very fact of listening. We should ask ourselves if we truly listen and attend to other people with the sole purpose of seeking their good. Do we even know what that really means?

What are the characteristics of a real listener?

1Real listeners aren’t controlling or manipulative.

Good listeners don’t want to extract more information than is needed to resolve the situation the person is raising. They don’t take advantage of the other person’s need to talk to manipulate them into inappropriate confidences. They don’t want to pry.

2They don’t judge.

Good listeners, above all, spend time with the speaker and show empathy: they put themselves in the other person’s place. The person who is speaking doesn’t need to be told whether what they’ve said or done is right or wrong (unless they ask for our opinion).

3They don’t try to preach.

The main objective should not be to “teach someone a lesson,” especially not prefabricated, generic advice. Each soul is unique and needs to be treated differently. Nor should the conversation be a time for personal showcasing of one’s experiences or acquired knowledge. It’s about the person we’re listening to, not about us.

Many times the people who approach us only need to share their concern or suffering, without needing us to tell them “what to do” next. This doesn’t mean that they won’t ever ask for an opinion or advice; the point is not to give it unless they ask.


Read more:
Can’t find a listening ear? Confide in the saints


Read more:
Do you know how to really listen?

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
Reasons Catholics should read the Bible
Bret Thoman, OFS
Traces of miracles remain at the birthplace of St. Rita of Cascia
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's formula for defeating evil in the world
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
'An American Blessed': A documentary to thank God in 2021
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.