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December 20, 2021 59 min

You can undoubtedly sense when you’re talking to a good listener.  Something about the way the person either looks at you or makes empathic comments allows you to feel comfortable with this individual and,  therefore, more likely to open up further. If this person is your  romantic partner, this ability to listen allows you to feel emotionally  closer, supported, and understood.

As much as you may admire and appreciate being in a relationship with  a good listener, perhaps you feel that you’re just not all that happy  with your own listening skills. You’ve noticed that people, including  your partner, seem frustrated with your lack of responsiveness to their  needs. When you meet people for the first time, the conversations seem  to run out of steam almost as soon as they get started. Coworkers don’t  ask you to join them for informal breaks or offline remote chats, and  even your relatives seem to get so bored that, at family gatherings, they try to pull away as soon as they can to speak to someone else.

According to a newly-published review paper by University of Haifa’s  Guy Itzchakov, collaborating with University of Rochester’s Harry Reis  and University of Reading’s Netta Weinstein (2021), decades of previous  research support the observation that good listening is a mechanism that  drives the “interpersonal connections … known to conduce many positive  intrapersonal affective and cognitive outcomes.” “Listening,” they  continued, “is a basic social behavior and one of the most fundamental  features of a social interaction.” It’s worth sharpening this key aspect  of your ability in order to relate well to others.

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