When you ask your partner a question, do you find yourself having to repeat it several times before you finally have his or her attention? Are you feeling like your emotions are not being addressed? Are you starving for attention?
I was recently engrossed in a couple’s conversation on the train. After watching them for only a few moments, I noticed that one of them was not listening to a word the other one was saying.
Soon after this encounter, I started to wonder about the basic elements needed to make a relationship work. As I pondered the thought I began to realize that most of us have been taught that communication is the most important element for a relationship to work.
I agree communication is one aspect that cannot be ignored but after watching this couple on the train, I experienced another ‘a-ha’ moment about dating. In order to have a successful relationship, not only is communication crucial, but also listening is imperative. As you get more experienced with life and dating (a.k.a. growing older, maturing), you learn to read between the lines, which simply means; you start listening.
The truth is most people are too polite to say what they really think, so you have to truly listen to what they mean to say, not what you would like them to say.
Do you recall listening to someone complain about his or her day and the first thing that you said was, “Stop complaining” or “Get over it;” or the last time you shared your innermost thoughts with someone only to have them ignored?
In these moments “reading between the lines” is most important because once you start listening you’re able to respond in a way that shows that you care and a sign that whatever they have to say actually matters. Plus, you’ll find yourself saying things like, “You will be able to do it,” “Everyone feels this way at the beginning.” You are thereby offering up support, giving attention, and reaffirming the other person’s feelings and emotions, which is exactly what all relationships require to succeed.
Listening will also enable you to understand and translate the true meanings of the many dating clichés we hear from time to time:
1. “I’m not ready for a relationship right now” translates to “You’re not the one.”
2. “It’s not you, it’s me” translates to “It IS you.”
3. “Let’s just be friends…” – “… Looooong distance friends.”
What a powerful tool? It’s also the relationship tool we rarely use, go figure!
Research has found that by listening effectively, you will get more information from the people you date; you will increase others’ trust in you; you will reduce conflict; you will better understand how to motivate each other; and you will inspire a higher level of commitment in the person you’re in a relationship with!
Date Smart… Date for Success™