The Listening Angle of Communication

“Faulty listening,” says one psychoanalyst, “is usually at the root of most marital communication problems. Sometimes it merely causes annoyance or irritation. But when a person is talking about something important, trying to get a problem resolved, or seeking emotional support, poor listening can have disastrous results.”

Yet most of us prefer to talk rather than to listen. We enjoy expressing our ideas and telling what we know and how we feel about matters. We expend more energy in expressing our own thoughts than in giving full attention when others are expressing theirs. Listening seems like such a simple thing to do, yet most of us are poor listeners because listening is hard work.

What are some of the problems in listening?

Once couple sought counseling because their conversations turned into arguments. Each evening the husband would try to unload the events of his pressure-packed job. His wife would tell of coping with three active youngsters. Each was looking for sympathy, support, and solutions to problems. Yet neither had the patience to listen with understanding but, instead, eagerly jumped in with his or her own complaints.

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