5 Poor Listening Styles to Avoid

Listening is so Hard to Do (Because I really don’t want to!)

Most of us are not very good listeners. We’re too busy thinking of what we are going to say when it’s our turn to speak. All of us could learn better listening skills.  Especially to the one we married.

The Need to Become A Better Listener

The key to good communication in marriage begins with how well you listen.

God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Dennis and I are still growing in this listening thing. In the past, when I wanted a chance to have my say, I held up my hand—-

Like in TALK. TO. THE. HAND.

And not with much love, either, I might add. This action irritated him horribly.

Our goal is to work toward a healthy marriage, right? So, I’m learning to sit on my hands and wait until it is my turn to speak.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ~ Stephen R. Covey

To be a better listener, it helps to recognize the style in which we listen. Here is a list of poor listening styles we want to avoid.

5 Poor Listening Styles

1. Selective Listening

We parents accuse our kids of having selective hearing. This is where we pay attention only to the parts of the conversation that interests us.  We turn the topic of the conversation away from the one talking,  onto focusing on what we want to talk about.

2. Self-centered Listening

Instead of listening with the intent to understand, we focus on ourselves. We listen from our own point of view.
• Saying “I know just how you feel,” when you have no idea what the Speaker feels or is experiencing. “You think your day was bad, it can’t possibly compare to mine!”

This approach has different facets I think many of us fall into. We think we have the perfect answer and can offer the best solution. Judging, probing and advising are characteristic of this poor listening style.

Confession: I’m embarrassed to say this is generally my style.  (Right now, my husband and a few friends are nodding their heads, saying “Yep!”)

As I’ve chosen to allow God’s Spirit to teach me to love without prejudice or judgment, my poor listening skills are part of the overhaul. What I’m learning is that when I offer what I think is a solution or wise counsel (hint: it’s not wise if the speaker doesn’t ask for advice or counsel), PRIDE exposes my motives.

Pride that says I know best!  I’ve got the perfect solution, and this is what you should do.  I KNOW, because it worked for me.

3. Pretend Listening

I’m not paying attention to you but act like I am by saying words like “yea”, “uh huh”, “cool”, and “sounds great.”

Hint:  If I’m staring at  my mobile device, I’m not really listening.

Dennis is learning not to talk about serious topics if I’m distracted with cooking, writing or a craft.  Likewise, I know to wait until I have his full attention to do the same.

4. Word Listening

We miss what someone is actually trying to say because we don’t pay attention to the body language behind the words.

My words may sound flat and monotonous, but my facial expressions and slumped shoulders really reveal what I’m saying.

5. Spacing Out

Our mind is someplace else, so we ignore the person speaking to us. Waving your hand in front of his face and saying “HELLOOOO?” doesn’t work very well either.

How well do YOU listen?

Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words…] James 1:19

God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Which of these  listening style describes how poorly you listen?
If you want to improve your listening skills, are you brave enough to ask your spouse to rate you?

My hope is that you want to improve your listening skills so your spouse or others feel listened to.  Stay tuned ’til next time when we will discuss how to:  Listen to others (especially your spouse)  the way they want to say it, not the way you want to hear it.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.