We’re all guilty of not listening at one point or another in our lives. We tune others out while we’re watching the TV, or trying to concentrate on something we’re reading. Nowadays, we try hard to multi-task between twitter and texting, but inevitably that means we’re not always listening to someone who’s trying to talk to us.
Believe it or not, listening is a skill just like writing or playing football is. That’s good news, because it also means you can learn to listen and be with the person who’s talking to you when they’re talking to you. In the meantime, it helps to understand some of the reasons we don’t listen. By identifying those reasons that ring true, you can then work on improving your listening skills, focusing on being aware of those reasons next time you find yourself not listening.
Awareness itself is not enough, however. You may need to practice “active listening” skills as well, and spend some time and effort in re-learning your normal listening behaviors. Being there when a person is talking to you can be a very rewarding experience, and often can enhance an existing relationship with friends, family, or your significant other.
You take a dualistic position that you are right and the other person is wrong. Dualism supports a preoccupation with proving your point of view. Directly expressing your feelings and thoughts without needing to be “right” allows you to express yourself, and listen to and understand others (without binding your communication to a right/wrong mindset).
You believe that the problem is the other person’s fault. “Owning” your problem (also called problem ownership, which means to take responsibility for it), based on the identification of your needs, is a functional alternative to a “blame-game” (e.g., to attribute to others what may not reflect their personal reality).