People always like to have someone listen to. It’s one of those important things because people appreciate feeling validated, respected and worth something from others. Still, actual listening has become as lost an art today as tying a tie or having a firm handshake.
It’s more so about the art of active listening, than actual listening itself. In contemporary culture we’re pretty good at bullying our way to get our voices heard. We heckle and make our sales pitch to others and get our way by any means necessary. Still, the wise and real powerbrokers will tell you that they didn’t get anywhere or learned anything until they learned how to listen.
There are many books out how to be better listeners, so I won’t get into that here. What really matters in the end are motivation and intent.
So you’re with someone in a relationship who always asks for your opinion but never takes what you say “into account”. So what can you do to get them to “listen to you”?
How do you feel about the possibility that they just won’t listen?
Maybe what is important to you isn’t important to them no matter how important it really is. You can force a horse to drink water unless it’s thirsty. Another person’s motivation is usually not in your control – the most you can do is persuade them.
Have you thought about how you’ve approached the situation?
Sometimes we want what we want and that gets into how we ask for what we want. Trying too hard can sometimes make us have to work harder than we need to.
Have you put yourself in the other person’s shoes?
Perhaps the other person has things going on that is preventing them from responding how you would like. Every individual’s motivation and other circumstances can play into their effectiveness at listening.
What’s the point in considering all these things? The point of active listening isn’t just to hear what the person is telling you. Listening is the dance of hearing plus letting the other person know you are vested in what is going on. Perfecting such an art and using those skills genuinely and honestly is the foundation of great communication, and ultimately, healthy relationships.
Honestly, that’s the part that is missing these days – people being honest and showing whether they’re vested or not. Let’s face, that vested nature is always on display when we listen, whether we realize it or not.