Okay, we’re diving in. Listening blocks are simply habits we all have that hinder us from actively listening. It doesn’t mean you’re a weirdo, or bad, or suck. It means you’re human. There’s 12 in total and we’ve left them and their definitions below.
As you read through them, have a place to take notes nearby and jot down the ones that most apply to you. We’ve also left some brief tips on ways to tackle them, too! Here we go…
- Comparing: You are too busy trying to compare one person or situation with another.
- Mind Reading: Assuming you know what the other person feels and thinks without asking.
- Identifying: You take everything a person tells you and refer it back to your own experience.
- Rehearsing. Planning what you want to say next and missing what’s being said now.
- Filtering. Listening only to things that are relevant to you and ignoring the rest (even if it’s important to the other person).
- Judging. Evaluating the other person and what they say rather than really trying to understand how they see the world.
- Daydreaming. Getting caught in memories or fantasies while someone is talking to you.
- Advising. Looking for suggestions and solutions instead of listening and understanding.
- Sparring. Invalidating the other person by arguing and debating.
- Being right. Resisting or ignoring any communication that suggests you are wrong or should change.
- Derailing. Flat out changing the subject as soon as you hear anything that bothers or threatens you.
- Placating. Agreeing too quickly (“I know…you’re right…I’m sorry”) without really listening to the other person’s feelings or concerns.
Whew. Seems a little daunting, right? Remember, you’re human. We all struggle with these!
Okay, now onto the tips:
- Face your partner and put away any distractions.
- Clear your mind to take in what they are saying only. Form a response only after they have finished speaking.
- Avoid interrupting, as hard as it may be.
- Make conscious efforts to change thoughts and redirect them to the person at hand.
- Ask to pause if you need to recalibrate, write things down, or refocus.
- Take notes, if needed, to keep active attention.
- Remind yourself to “Stay calm, hold space.” and use mantras that are effective for you.
- Fact check before responding to ensure you’ve gotten the message as it was meant.
- Do a self scan before responding.
Seems a little more do-able right? Remember, this is a PRACTICE. Not something we can check off. Listening is like a muscle we need to flex over and over again to improve. Here’s a freebie to level up your listening and start the work!
Have a question? Leave it in the comments below, we’d love to hear from ya!