Experts agree that there are different types of listening styles. Each particular style will lend itself to whether or not you are a good or bad listener.
And I just want to point out that, often, the type of listener you are might depend on who it is you’re listening to. That said, for the most part, how you listen is how you listen.
Before we get into my #1 sign of a bad listener, let’s address different types of listening styles.
- Respond (waiting for your turn to just say something)
- Support someone
- Position (either to position yourself in the place of authority or one up)
- Shift (searching for that moment where you can shift the conversation back to you)
Certainly, it’s easy to distinguish from the bullet list above what makes a bad listener. But what if you’re unsure and would like a hack to figure out if you are, indeed, not so great at listening?
When People Don’t Share Their Problems With You because you immediately launch into solving them!
That is my #1 way to discern if you are, indeed, a bad listener.
Frankly, unless someone has asked for your assistance, they just want you to:
- receive the message
- appreciate their perspective
- maybe summarize
- ask a few follow-up questions
- help them feel understood
Think back on the last time you were sharing something intimate with somebody — in a super deep conversation. Did you do so in the hopes they would solve the problem for you?
Probably not because that is a super rare circumstance (therapy excluded)!
More often than not, we just need a sounding board; to be understood by the people we love and trust.
There are certain people in my life I don’t tell anything of significance to because I don’t really feel like they’re listening. Instead, they’re always trying to solve the problem… when all I really want to do is talk.
Bottom line: We don’t need people to solve, do better, relate or shift it back to them when we’re sharing our stuff.
For much more related on this topic, like:
- The golden rule to listening
- Why there’s likely to be only a few people in your life who are strong listeners
- Questions to ask yourself to improve your listening skills
Then, check out The Chalene Show episode below:
And don’t forget to subscribe to TCS for weekly shows dedicated to all things personal development!