Things guys hear too often from their wife or girlfriend…
You never listen!
You’re not hearing what I’m saying!
You just don’t get it!
Ouch. Friends, these are things your significant other should never have to say so often.
Face it, dudes, we don’t always listen well to her. Listening is important to her, and if she’s important to you, listening needs to be important to you. I’m not perfect at it, either, but I’m working to be a better listener. So, here’s a few tips I have come to learn are crucial to really hearing what she’s saying.
Minimize any distractions
Mute the television volume, or turn it off. Put down your phone or tablet. Your cue is when she begins talking.
Giving her your undivided attention as she speaks demonstrates to her that you value her and what she has to say. You’re communicating just in these simple actions that you want to hear her. She notices that and appreciates it.
If you don’t minimize distractions, that says something to her as well. She may stop talking, but that doesn’t mean she was finished.
Practice Active Listening
Turn toward her and look at her when she’s talking. Lean in. Your body position lets her know you’re listening to her. A little verbal interjection from you every now and then, like I see, or And then what? indicates you’re engaged.
Ask for clarification, or repeat some detail she mentioned. Now let me see I’m understanding you here… State the detail and ask, Is that right? Again, just a component of active listening.
Affirm her feelings
I know, maybe you’re not so much in tune with your own emotional stuff, but she verbalizes her feelings in conversation. You have to learn to pick up the cues, and then respond appropriately.
Let’s say she’s telling you about getting passed up in her workplace for appreciation on a project she had completed before the deadline. This was important to her and it strikes at her feeling valued at work. So, she is telling you how it feels.
You can affirm her feelings by saying things like, I can see how that would bother you; Hey, you did great work, and they should have said so; Yes, that was unfair.
When you say affirmative things like the examples above, she feels supported and that she is being heard. She needs someone to be honest with concerning her feelings, and that person should be you above all.
Don’t offer solutions or fixes
This tip comes right out of the previous one. As guys, when someone tells us about a problem or troubling situation, we immediately analyze and then offer some sort of solution or we set about to fix it.
Resist, resist, resist! When she is telling you her problem and how she feels, she is not asking you to fix it or give her a solution. It can be tough, but hold fast at affirming her feelings. Now if she specifically asks what you would do or suggest, then proceed. But even then move carefully.
As guys, we’ll say things like, Well, you should have…, or Here’s what you ought to do…. Just don’t. Often all she wants is a listening heart and an affirmation of her value. She doesn’t want a solution or a fix.
Positive touch is big in listening well to her. Sit closer to her. Put your arm around her. A gentle hand on her hand or knee is a physical connection that also connects emotionally and mentally.
Positive touch gives encouragement, expresses value, communicates security, and reaffirms intimacy. These are all things she needs when she wants you to listen to her.
Give these tips a go and strive to be the listener she needs.