The Consequences of Not Listening Well

Brant Burleson, a researcher at Purdue University, says the scientific evidence is strong that if your mate is upset, and you are listening to her ineptly:

1. it can make her feel worse

2. it can make her more upset

3. it can inhibit her ability to effectively solve her problem

4. it can encourage an unhealthy dependence on the listener

5. it can raise her level of stress

6. it can make your relationship less stable

7. it can make her less satisfied with your relationship

8. and it might even be bad for her health

Whether or not you are a competent listener has real consequences. Being able to listen well when your mate is having troubles may be the most helpful thing you can learn to do for her. It helps her become calmer and happier and helps her handle her problems better.

Research shows most people who try to listen fail to do it well. People with good intentions, people who want to help their friends and mates don't know how to do it, and their friends and mates are not helped and can actually be harmed by their incompetence. Good intentions are not enough. A person having troubles and talking to the average listener won't walk away better off and that's a shame. A good opportunity has been missed because of a lack of know-how. An opportunity to make the world a better place and truly help someone in need has been missed by ineptitude.

Lucky for your mate, the knowledge you are about to discover (when you read this article) will allow you to seize those opportunities. You will be able to translate your desire to help into effective listening that produces real benefits for your mate and friends. And for that, I salute you!

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Direct Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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