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3 Characteristics of real listeners

Shutterstock | fizkes

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?

Real 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.

They 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).

They 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.

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