Be a good listener.

11 Apr

I don’t think of my blog as an advice blog, per se, but the piece of advice I’m offering today is to be a good listener.  This skill will aid you greatly in your ability to attract someone of the opposite sex.

When you are a good listener, others will perceive you as:

  • sympathetic
  • tolerant
  • patient
  • kind
  • sweet
  • nurturing
  • trustworthy
  • enjoyable to be around

Being a good listener enables you to relate to other people – and if you’re not relating to other people, it’s going to be hard to get into a relationship of any value.

This skill is especially crucial for women, because men typically don’t have anyone to confide in emotionally.  I think a lot of women either forget or aren’t aware that male friendships aren’t like female friendships.  Female friendships usually center around talking, and usually that talking is about feelings and relationships.  It’s very unusual for women to get together to talk about problem-solving if it’s in a purely social setting (as opposed to a work meeting).  Men, on the other hand, relate by doing, which is probably why my male coworkers thought it was absurd that I would categorize female friends as either “talking friends” or “activity friends.”  To them, a friend was just a friend.  (One coworker even went so far as to proclaim, “If you can’t do more than two activities with a friend, that person isn’t a friend!  You need to get different friends!”)

Anyhow, women usually have more than one person that they confide in, so if one person isn’t sympathetic enough, there’s always someone else to turn to.  This isn’t so for men.  That, in a man’s mind, is one of the motivating factors in getting a wife.  So you can imagine that the prospect of coming home to a woman who doesn’t listen – the one person who is supposed to listen – is a huge downer and would be a serious deterrent to considering marriage with her.

The equally negative flip side to not being a good listener is that this tends to go hand-in-hand with talking at people.  If you’re not listening to the other person, you’re probably thinking about yourself and what you want to talk about instead.  So when it’s your turn to talk, no matter how well-intentioned you might be, the other person just hears that you don’t care about what’s going on with them and are more wrapped up in yourself.

Sometimes to be a good listener, all you have to do is listen.  The other person may just need to unburden himself without any commentary from you.  And if you prove to be a good listener, he may come back to you.

Just to be clear – I’m not advocating being anyone’s doormat and letting them use you as their emotional dumping ground while offering nothing back in the way of friendship.  I am also DEFINITELY not advocating being the repository for someone else’s self-made drama.  But listening IS a critical skill in getting and maintaining a relationship, and I have seen too many women who otherwise have good qualities unknowingly basically remove themselves from the MMP because they lack this ability.

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9 Responses to “Be a good listener.”

  1. Fred Mok April 12, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Listening is just as important for guys. It is about reflective and empathetic listening to focus on the other person (beta).

    But it also includes asserting one’s will, calling someone out on their bad behavior, reading past the content of the message to the emotional state of the woman, recognizing sh** tests, etc. (alpha).

    Knowing when to do what is wisdom.

    This is much more than about asking questions and interpreting the content of the words. It’s ultimately about observation. Without the basic tool of observation (reading body language, context, tone, pitch, volume, etc), no guy is going to learn how to read another person, much less a woman.

  2. Perry April 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    I think this is a great point. I have had several friends, who I considered at one time courting, who could talk up a tornado, but when ever I had something I wanted to share, would interrupt me, to go some more. It leaves us guys feeling exhausted. I agree with the above comment; being a patient listener is also a useful trait for guys as well.

  3. Ton April 13, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    Ladies this is good advice to follow. Right up there with don’t be a slut, don’t get fat, no short hair and don’t nag. Us men folk, we’re pretty simple creatures, and our list pretty damn short

  4. Jet Tibet April 14, 2013 at 1:58 am #

    Excellent post.

    However a lot of women are literally incapable of distinguishing between what someone says and how it makes them feel.

    Thus, if a man (foolishly) confides something that makes her worried or angry, such a chick will remember him as having expressed worry or anger.

  5. Jet Tibet April 14, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    Another thing: my subjective impression is that women lose the ability to listen after the age of 35. It seems that the recently discovered “talking protein” just takes over at that point. Though I’d be interested if others think differently.

  6. y81 April 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Jet Tibet: You haven’t met my 18-year-old daughter. The talking protein has possessed her since about age 3. I think it possesses my wife, too, but I didn’t know her when she was three, so I can’t assess when it started. Certainly I see no evidence of 35 as a crucial age.

    Ton, I think the other items you name are much more important than being a good listener. Plenty of men (myself included) don’t have much to say and aren’t particularly looking for a good listener.

  7. Random Angeleno April 16, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Listening is a critical skill for men in relationships. What does that look like for a man? First, it’s important to figure out whether she’s just airing herself out or there is more to her talking. This is crucial because we men tend to want to jump in, give advice, fix the problem, resolve the issue and so forth. In other words, rescue her from whatever she finds herself in, it’s in our nature to want to do that. Attention men: Resist. That. Impulse. Don’t offer advice, don’t offer to fix the problem, don’t offer to resolve the issue … just listen and acknowledge her feelings. It isn’t necessary to agree with her as she often just wants to know she’s been heard. Many times, that is all she needs and she will often feel better after talking it out. Sometimes she will even thank her man for listening, he did very little, just let her have the floor. Now a man can put a reasonable time limit on this venting so she doesn’t monopolize his time all night long in this manner, that’s what her girlfriends are for; he is not one of them. What that is can vary among couples, I won’t get into that.

    Second, there are times when she will come out and specifically ask for advice or help. Then the door is open for her man to offer what he can. In some instances, it may be necessary to ask questions to gauge her feelings on the topic and steer the conversation to where good resolutions are hopefully congruent with her feelings. That’s not always possible, but it’s a good goal.

  8. Ton April 17, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    I was thinking more along the line of not interrupting etc then good listener as in listen to some one ramble on

  9. Franz April 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    *ding-ding-ding-ding!!!!*

    We have a winner! There is nothing sexier than a woman with a good ear…and no, I don’t mean that in the literal sense. ;) Good looks do help, but not nearly as much as the ability to *listen*. I’ll happily choose a “5” who can listen over a “10” who can’t, and I’ve had more than enough options lately to know that I’m not speaking as one who has to beg for scraps. That’s the first level of my screening process: test her ears. If she can handle my testimony, she’s halfway there. If she can’t, she’s toast.

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