Blocks to Listening

Being a good listener takes more than being attentive to your partner when he or she talks with you. Instead, the key to strong communication is knowing the characteristics of a poor listener.

The act of NOT listening is not exclusively a fault of men; women do it just as often. Below is a list of common blocks to effective listening:

  • Feelings of being right and your partner being wrong.

  • Insecurity about topics that creates defensiveness.

  • Silently resenting your pattern.

  • Silently or verbally criticizing what your partner is saying.

  • Being preoccupied with other issues.

  • Being impatient or not in the mood to talk.

  • Rehearsing what you will say while your partner is talking.

  • Jumping to hasty conclusions.

  • Dismissing what you hear.

  • Racing ahead of what your partner is saying.

  • The build up of strong emotions during a discussion.

  • A dislike for the subject.

  • Feeling misunderstood.

The key to effective communication is identifying when you are doing any of the roadblocks above and work to change it. Like all change, it requires practice, but it's possible as long as you are willing to make the effort.

by Nancy Fagan, M.S.


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