FREE Training: Breaking The Anger Cycle

how to be a better listener couple talking

Do you and your partner end up arguing over the same things again and again?

Do these arguments get in the way of understanding each other and finding common ground?

Are you and your partner stuck in a cycle of anger, blame, misunderstanding and defensiveness?

If so, being a better listener may be the key to breaking this cycle.

In this article, you will learn four key skills to be a better listener and these skills can help you and your partner create a calmer, happier and more loving relationship.

So, How Can I Be A Better Listener?

Being a better listener is vital to help you understand your partner better and create deeper, more meaningful conversations.

Being a good listener involves:

  • Fully focusing on your partner
  • Listening to their words
  • Understanding the feelings behind these words, and
  • Responding in a way that shows you've heard and understood what your partner has said.

Being a better listener is vital to help you understand your partner better and create deeper, more meaningful conversations.

By listening well to your partner, you can break the cycle of arguments and find common ground more quickly, leading to calmer and more loving conversations.

While being a good listening is a powerful skill to use, many people I work with struggle to practice it. 

There can be many reasons for this, including a lack of knowledge about how to do it, an inability to remain calm during difficult conversations and a tendency to want to jump into problem-solving mode without taking the time to fully understanding your partner.

For this reason, I spend much time with couples, teaching them how to actively listen better. When I do this, there are 4 key skills that I help couples practice. These are:

  • Using Minimal Encouragers
  • Asking Questions
  • Summarising (or "Reflecting"), and
  • Giving Positive Feedback

Let's look at each of these skills in more detail.

Skill 1: Using Minimal Encouragers

A minimal encourager is simply a short response to your partner that shows you are listening to them.

Examples of common minimal encouragers include verbal responses such as saying phrases such as "Mmhmm", "I see", and "Go on".

Minimal encouragers encourage your partner to keep talking and help you remain focussed on them rather than jumping in and starting to problem-solve.

Minimal encouragers encourage your partner to keep talking and help you remain focussed on them rather than jumping in and starting to problem-solve.

Minimal encouragers may also be non-verbal responses such as nodding your head, smiling, making eye contact and even gently touching your partner's arm.

Using minimal encouragers assures your partner you are listening to them while avoiding interrupting them or taking over the flow of the conversation. 

This will help your partner feel heard and understood and encourage them to keep talking.

Skill 2: Asking Questions

couple talking

Asking questions is a powerful way to show your partner you are listening to them and want to understand their perspective.

Asking questions also allows you to gather more information from your partner, which can help you understand their perspective and make it easier to find common ground.

When asking your partner questions, asking as many "open questions" as possible is important.

Open questions require more than a yes/no answer and encourage your partner to give you more information about their thoughts and feelings.

Asking questions is a powerful way to show your partner you are listening to them and want to understand their perspective.

For example, some open questions you could ask your partner include

  • "Can you tell me more about that?"
  • "What do you think the root of the problem is?", or
  • "What happened next?"

In addition to asking open questions, it is also good to ask your partner questions about their feelings. This allows you to better understand their emotional world and the significance of the issue to them.

couple talking

Some questions about feelings you can ask include:

  • "How did that make you feel?"
  • "How has this been affecting you?" or
  • "Did that make you sad?"

Skill 3: Summarising (or "Reflecting")

couple talking and listening to each other

Summarising is a powerful listening skill that involves repeating back to your partner what they have said, in your own words.

Summarising helps your partner feel heard, understood and respected. It also shows them that you have listened to what they said and are taking the time to consider and process it.

When summarizing your partner's words, do not include your opinions or judgments. Instead, emphasise the main points your partner is talking about and use words that convey understanding and empathy.

Skill 4: Giving Positive Feedback

couple listening

Giving positive feedback is another powerful way to show your partner you are listening to them.

Positive feedback involves letting your partner know what you appreciate about their words and actions, such as their willingness to share their feelings or how they articulated their point of view.

Giving positive feedback also helps your partner feel valued and respected, encouraging them to keep talking and helping create a more relaxed conversation.

Examples of positive feedback include phrases such as:

  • "I appreciate you sharing this with me"
  • "I'm glad you're willing to talk about this"
  • "I admire how you handled that situation."

Conclusion

conclusion

Being a better listener is a powerful way to help you and your partner create a calmer, happier and more loving relationship.

When both partners listen to each other and take the time to understand their perspectives, it creates a more respectful and understanding environment. This can help reduce misunderstandings, disagreements and arguments, leading to calmer, less stressful conversations and a more peaceful relationship.

Being a better listener is a powerful way to help you and your partner create a calmer, happier and more loving relationship.

Additionally, being a better listener creates a deeper, more meaningful connection between partners. When both people feel truly heard and understood, it makes them feel valued and appreciated.

As with any other skill, however, being a better listener takes time and practice. Make time to practice your listening skills this week and see how it helps you create a calmer, more peaceful relationship.

Remember: For a free training on how to control your anger, click here.

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Breaking The Anger Cycle: 3 Game-Changing Secrets For Controlling Your Anger, Mastering Your Emotions And Creating Calmer, Happier And More Respectful Relationships

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