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8 Habits of Lousy Listeners

October 5, 2010

How many of these bad listening habits do YOU have? (We asked Uncle John and, in between moments of plucking his nose hairs, he said, “I knew you were going to say that, and I knew the worst listener of all time when I lived in New York. I had a house in New York once, it was really something. Had doors and windows and everything.” Then he walked into the bathroom and locked the door.)

Please list your own bad listening habits in the comments.

Most people know that one of the keys to success in relationships is good listening.

Experts tell us to use “active” listening, “I messages,” and open-ended questions. Articles urge us to stop talking when someone speaks, to use our body language effectively to encourage the other guy, and to work to understand what is meant as well as what is said. We’ve been told that men are from Mars and women are from Venus and we’ve been taught how to translate the gender languages. Yet despite all that, developing good listening skills continues to be a challenge for some people.

1. Lousy listeners are attending to other things when you are speaking. Proud of their ability to multitask, they continue to scan the newspaper, pick up the living room, text, or clean their desk while being addressed. An occasional ‘uh-huh’ is supposed to cue you that, really, they are with you. They’re not — or at least not totally. Their mind is distracted. Chances are they miss important pieces of your message — even if they protest that they don’t.

2. Lousy listeners are planning how they will respond even while you are speaking. They are so busy rehearsing their reply that they miss part of your message and don’t catch the nuances of your communication. They’re ready with a paragraph before you’ve even completed a sentence.

Six more bad habits at the PsychCentral Blog.

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October 5, 2010 12:41 pm

Was using the Van Gogh photo a bit tacky?

October 5, 2010 1:30 pm
Reply to  Thom

I find it rather amusing actually.

October 5, 2010 1:55 pm
Reply to  Anna

You’re our kind of people, Anna, our kind of people.

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