Good listening skills are essential for healthy friendships and relationships. Whether you want to strengthen a relationship, resolve a conflict, or offer support in dealing with a crisis, good listening skills can be a great resource for peace. Learn to be a true supportive listener, finding yourself surrounded by other people who can do the same is essential.
There are some important steps to take to develop good listening skills . You will notice the difference in your relationship with others and you will notice how your relationships improve almost instantly.
Steps to improve relationships
- Listens! Ask your friend how he is and really listen to the answer he gives you. Let them explain everything on their mind, their fears, their frustrations, their feelings … show that you are interested in what they have to say and resist the temptation to give unsolicited advice.
- Repeat what they tell you. Summarize and repeat what they are saying to show that you understand what they are saying. Focus on the emotions the other person may be feeling from their story.
- Ask about feelings. Ask them to expand on their feelings and why. Ask about their feelings and provide a good emotional release, this will be more helpful than just focusing on the facts of the situation.
- Keep the focus on them. Instead of delving into the story, keep your focus on them until they feel better. You can reference something that happened if focus is quickly returned to you. They will appreciate the focus on them and that will help them feel cared for and understood.
- Brainstorming. Rather than giving advice up front, the best thing to do is to help them think of solutions after they have expressed their emotions . It may help you see the pros and cons of each solution so you can find the one that makes you feel the best. They may also feel better after being able to speak and feel heard and understood by another person.
How to really get it
In addition to taking the above points into account as steps to improve relationships , there are some tips that will help you also be the best listener:
- Stay present. Sometimes people pretend to listen, but really they just wait for their friend to stop talking so they can say whatever they have been mentally rehearsing while pretending to show that they are listening. People can generally feel this, and it doesn’t feel right. Also, they tend to ignore what is being said because they are not centered.
- Don’t give advice! As we have mentioned above, it is important that you do not give unsolicited advice because this can generate stress and even some resentment. It’s common to want to immediately give advice and ‘fix’ your friend’s problem. Unless specifically requested, don’t do it. As you try to help, what would work for you might not work for your friend . Also, the advice can feel patronizing. Unless they ask for advice directly, your friend probably just wants to feel heard and understood, and then can come up with their own solutions.
- Trust the process. You may feel a little scared listening to feelings before diving into solutions, and listening to your friend talk about upsetting feelings can even leave you feeling helpless. But usually offering a supportive ear and sitting next to him when he’s uncomfortable is the most helpful thing you can do, and once the feelings are removed, solutions will start to come.
- Let things go by themselves. Time puts things in place so it is necessary to relax when you only need one person to listen. If you are always doing everything for someone else and the other person is not by your side when you need them, then you need to re-evaluate the dynamics of the relationship. Being a good listener can make you a stronger and more caring person, but you also need more support from your relationships. The relationship must be reciprocal.