“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”
— Ralph Nichols
Do you ever feel like your partner doesn’t listen?
This past weekend my hubby and I almost got into an argument. I won’t bore you with the details. In short, based on his comments, I felt he missed the point and didn’t really understand. I felt frustrated and just thought…”Why even bother talking.”
Well this communication issue stayed on my mind. It got me thinking…”Why is it that we have no problem talking to our friends, and pretty much the rest of the world? You could talk to your spouse before you got married, so…What happens to communication after you get married?” I’m not alone in this line of thinking am I?
Here’s a video that shed some light on things and got me thinking. It’s a short video – only 1 minute 34 seconds long. Please watch it before you read on.
My Partner Never Listens:
We all have filters.
So, inspired by this video and our communication issues, I decided to find out more information. Boy was I in for a treat! Did you know there are four styles of listening: (1) People-oriented, (2) Content-oriented, (3) Action-oriented, and (4) Time-oriented. Plus there are numerous listening types: Discriminative listening, Comprehension listening, Biased listening, Evaluative listening, Appreciative listening, Sympathetic listening, Empathetic listening, Theraputic listening, Dialogic listening, and Relationship listening. On top of that, there are several different types of listening, based on how deeply you are listening to the other person. They are: False listening, Initial listening, Selective listening, Partial listening, Full listening, and Deep listening.
No wonder people have problems communicating! When it comes to our friends I think we mostly apply the “good” listening types, not the negative ones. If you’re the one doing all the talking, then you are blessed with a friend who is willing to listen to you. Read on and see if you can identify your listening types, and possibly your mate’s type(s). In a nutshell, here’s the description of the different listening styles/types:
1 – People-oriented: Those who are people-oriented show a strong concern for others and their feelings.
2 – Content-oriented: People who are content-oriented are interested more in what is said rather than who is saying it or what they are feeling.
3 – Action-oriented: Interested first on what will be done, what actions will happen, when and who will do them.
4 – Time-oriented: Have their eyes constantly on the clock. They organize their day into neat compartments and will allocate time for listening, though will be very concerned if such sessions over-run.
Read more about Listening styles here: http://changingminds.org/techniques/listening/listening_styles.htm
There are many names for different types of listening. Here is a collection of types and the different names that get ascribed to them, along with a brief description of each.
Active listening - Listening in a way that demonstrates interest and encourages continued speaking.
Appreciative listening - Looking for ways to accept and appreciate the other person through what they say. Seeking opportunity to praise. Alternatively listening to something for pleasure, such as to music.
Attentive listening - Listening obviously and carefully, showing attention.
Biased listening - Listening through the filter of personal bias.
Casual listening - Listening without obviously showing attention. Actual attention may vary a lot.
Comprehension listening - Listening to understand. Seeking meaning (but little more).
Content listening - Listening to understand. Seeking meaning (but little more).
Critical listening - Listening in order to evaluate, criticize or otherwise pass judgment on what someone else says.
Deep listening - Seeking to understand the person, their personality and their real and unspoken meanings and motivators.
Dialogic listening - Finding meaning through conversational exchange, asking for clarity and testing understanding.
Discriminative listening - Listening for something specific but nothing else (eg. a baby crying).
Empathetic listening - Seeking to understand what the other person is feeling. Demonstrating this empathy.
Evaluative listening - Listening in order to evaluate, criticize or otherwise pass judgment on what someone else says.
False listening - Pretending to listen but actually spending more time thinking.
Full listening - Listening to understand. Seeking meaning.
High-integrity listening - Listening from a position of integrity and concern.
Inactive listening - Pretending to listen but actually spending more time thinking.
Informative listening - Listening to understand. Seeking meaning (but little more).
Initial listening - Listening at first then thinking about response and looking to interrupt.
Judgmental listening - Listening in order to evaluate, criticize or otherwise pass judgment on what someone else says.
Partial listening - Listening most of the time but also spending some time day-dreaming or thinking of a response.
Reflective listening - Listening, then reflecting back to the other person what they have said.
Relationship listening - Listening in order to support and develop a relationship with the other person.
Sympathetic listening - Listening with concern for the well-being of the other person.
Therapeutic listening - Seeking to understand what the other person is feeling. Demonstrating this empathy.
Total listening - Paying very close attention in active listening to what is said and the deeper meaning found through how it is said.
Whole-person listening - Seeking to understand the person, their personality and their real and unspoken meanings and motivators.
More info on Listening Types and Depth of Listening:
Principles of Effective Listening: http://www.shkaminski.com/Classes/Handouts/Listening.htm
The wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why can’t we all be like that bird?
–Edward H. Richards