Are You a Good Listener?

Image of a hand cupping an ear to listen.

Being a good listener is one of the keys to having strong relationships. If you’re not a good listener, chances are that many of the relationships in your life are strained.

Think about this: If you ask yourself how you know someone cares for you, one of your responses is likely to be that you know because the person listens to you. Ask a husband about a good wife, and he is likely to say that he knows his wife cares for him because she listens to what he has to say. Ask a wife about a good husband, and she’ll respond that he listens to her.

Even if we are saying something that is not really worth listening to, we still want someone to listen to us.

Ask a person in a poor relationship why the person feels that way, and the person will say that the other person “doesn’t care about me.” Ask, “How do you know?” and more often than not the response will be, “He doesn’t listen to me.”

In order to understand others, you need to listen to them.

Get the Whole Story to be a Good Listener

Consider the story about the farmer. One day he was traveling down the road with his horse, dog, and wagon full of grain. Suddenly, his wagon was struck head-on by a car. The incident caused the farmer severe injuries.

When the case came to court, the lawyer defending the man driving the car asked the farmer, “Isn’t it true that immediately after the accident a passer-by came over to you and asked how you felt?”

“Yes, I remember that,” replied the farmer.

“And didn’t you tell him that you never felt better in your life?” asked the lawyer.

The farmer said, “I guess I did.” The defense lawyer said, “No further questions.”

On cross-examination, the farmer’s attorney asked, “Will you please tell the jury the circumstances in which you made that response?”

The farmer said, “Immediately after the accident, my horse had two broken legs and was neighing and kicking. The passer-by who came along was a deputy sheriff. He put his revolver to my horse’s ear and shot him dead. Then he went over to my dog that had a broken back and was yelping. The man put his gun to my dog’s ear and shot him dead, too. Then he came over to me and asked, ‘How do you feel?’ I said that I never felt better in my life.”

Until the lawyers and the jurors listened to the farmer’s personal plight, until they understood his perception of the entire situation, they wouldn’t be able make an appropriate judgment.

Too often, complete understanding is never achieved because we have not listened to the other person’s entire story.

Tip: If you want strong relationships, be a good listener. Listen to the ENTIRE story before judging or making a decision.

You can get many more empowering tips like this one in my award-winning book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. Buy one and get one free as a gift. You will not want to depart with your own copy. Also, be sure to check out the Without Stress Facebook group to connect with other like-minded people on a journey to reduce stress.