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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Find Out The Reason Your Partner May Not be Listening

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ne of the most frustrating issues that we're confronted with at one time or another in our relationships is when we keep repeating something, but don't receive an acceptable answer, or any answer at all. You believe that you've made your position clear. You've been saying the same thing over and over, but nothing changes. Your frustration may even turn into anger because now you think he or she is downright ignoring you. Things may even escalate to the point of a blow-up when you finally start screaming at your mate, "Didn't you hear what I said?" Well, the answer is probably "yes". So now you're really mad because your partner admitted to hearing you, but you still didn't get a response, or was given the wrong response. Here is what went wrong. Your partner may have heard, but was not listening to you. That's right -- there is a difference between hearing and listening.
Hearing is the reception of sound to the ear. Nothing more has to happen in order to hear. So, even though you may have repeated something over and over to your mate, he or she may have received sound only. For a number of reasons, once whatever you said reached the ear of your mate, nothing more happened. Something that you said cause them to immediately shut down and they could not or were not willing to concentrate on whatever you said in order to process it and respond to you. Don't get mad because you now need to know the reason for the "shut down". It could be that he or she didn't understand what was being said and were too embarrassed to acknowledge that he or she just didn't get it. It could be that he or she didn't agree with you, but were trying to keep the peace by not responding. Whatever the reason, you need to know before you react. So be candid with your mate and ask why the non-response. Ask if he or she understands what you are saying, all the while assuring them that you are willing to provide a more detailed explanation if it makes them feel better or makes things more clear. If there is any chance the subject-matter is sensitive and could cause embarrassment, lead off with acknowledging that the conversation may be uncomfortable (you've just put them at ease), but embarrassment is not what you are trying to cause. You want to have a meaningful exchange with them in order to avoid or erase any embarrassment. Now if your mate is non-responsive because your conversation is abusive, disrespectful, or condescending, then you shouldn't expect them to listen to you. This type of conversation is just offensive sound and does not deserve anyone's concentration or processing.
Now when your mate is listening to you, several things are going on because listening is more than receiving sound. It is a conscious choice to concentrate on the sound received and to further process it for certain purposes, including responding. People listen whenever something of importance is being said. They listen when the conversation is complimentary, interesting, and stimulating. People listen to information they believe will help them in some way. Even when the news isn't good, your mate may be willing to listen based on your delivery. We constantly hear the phrase, "it's not what you said, but how you said it." This reaffirms that good piece of advice that says we must work at our delivery (how you say it) whenever we're trying to resolve issues in our relationships. You can be candid, but compassionate; blunt but blameless; direct, but delicate; honest, but humble. If we want our relationship with our mate to involve listening rather than just hearing, then we must be conscious of what we are saying and how we're saying it. When your mate is listening, they may not respond verbally. However, you will know they heard you when they respond with a change, an improvement, or even by discontinuing an offense act or conversation. This happens not only because they heard you, but they also listened to you.

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