Listen–lend me your ears!

If you want your partner to start listening to you and what you have to say, listen up because this is just the tonic (without the *INSERT FAVORITE MIND-BLOWING SPIRIT HERE*!).

In communication, listening is an integral part of how you perceive others, as well as how others perceive you. In order to understand a particular situation fully, we must listen to what the other person is saying. Of course, we must assume that complete honesty is being imparted by the speaker. However, we discuss honesty in other articles.

Assuming that both parties are telling the whole truth, here are five proven ways to get your partner to really listen:

1. Know how to agree to disagree with respect.

As you and your partner are two individuals, you will not always agree on certain things in certain scenarios. You might have very similar tastes in music, furniture for the house, sexual positions, poetic devices, culinary choices, et al. However, when an instance comes to pass when there is a disagreement, it can feel uncomfortable. Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. of Psychology Today goes one step further, “If in that moment of disagreement you actually feel abandoned by your partner, it can be a very big deal.” Seltzer points out that our emotional part is and always will be controlled by our inner child, whereas the logical part is governed by our adult self. Remember that the thoughts of both of you are equally valid.

2. Listening well yourself.

When in dialogue with your partner, is your modus operandi domination of the conversation by way of non-stop talking on your part and constant interruptions when you are supposed to be silent and listening? If this sounds like you, how do you expect someone else to listen to you when you do not give the very thing you are asking for in the first place? When you really listen and not just hear your other half ready to pounce, you will find that they will respond accordingly and acknowledge your particular input in a much more receptive way. S/He who listens always glistens!


3. Say what is needed to be said and stop.

Droning on and on and on and on and on and on and Ariston gets annoying after a while. Why? This is because the speaker places a higher value on what they are saying than actually having an adult discussion about the topic in question. How would you feel being stuck in a monologue with someone who bores the life out of you? That is how your partner perceives you if you do not curtail the verbal bombardment. Keep things to a bare minimum, then wait – by giving time to your partner to digest what you said and to respond in kind.

4. Use words that do not antagonise.

Utilising calm words help immensely, e.g. “please” instead of “now”. Once you start with the hostile approach in your vocabulary, listening goes out the window and is replaced by, at the very least, a heated discussion regarding the current subject. Name-calling is strictly off-limits. The same goes for commands, as neither one of you is a Colonel in the relationship. Finger-wagging is a goner. Repeated questions, otherwise known as badgering, is another way to antagonise, so refrain from doing it unless it is an absolute necessity.

5. Do not blame.

It is rather curious that the words “blame” and “shame” rhyme. You are in fact trying to shame them into submission if you blame them, and no situation is more delicate than a romantic relationship. This typically backfires and you are met with fiery resistence, as what you are practicing is one-upmanship. Points-scoring in relationships, if left unresolved, leads to resentment towards the “aggressor”. Say how you really feel but you do not have to resort to blaming and shaming to make your point heard.

Thank you for lending us your ears. Now put these ideas into practice and watch your partner lend you theirs more readily and willingly.

Mohebel-Wachtel R., “10 Ways To Get Your Partner To Listen (That Don’y Involve Yelling)”

Seltzer L F Ph.D., “Can You and Your Partner Agree to Disagree?” Psychology Today