5. Lousy listeners hurry you along.
As you talk, they get restless. They might say, “Uh-huh, Uh-huh, uh-huh” or look at their watch or scan the surroundings or fidget. You run out of interest in communicating with them because they’ve let you know that they’ve run out of patience with listening to you.
6. Lousy listeners have lousy nonverbal skills.
They don’t look like they are paying attention. They don’t give much in the way of positive feedback like a nod or a smile. They slouch. They turn away. Their eyes glaze over. Talking to a lousy listener is like talking to a post for all the affirmation you get.
7. Lousy listeners tend to see criticism or blame in the most innocent of discussions.
Their defense is to be critical and judgmental. While you are talking, they are busy developing critiques of what you said or how you said it. They use sarcasm, “jokes,” and anger to derail any hint that you may be suggesting the need for them to change something about themselves or about how they are doing something. Communicating with them is so unpleasant you avoid it as much as you can.
8. Lousy listeners are quick to offer advice, even when it hasn’t been asked for.
They don’t take the time to listen to the whole story or to offer quiet support. Often they mean well. They really do want to help. But they don’t understand that their help isn’t always helpful; that sometimes what you want is simply to be heard and understood or given a vote of confidence that you can solve your own problems.
If someone you love or someone you work with has lousy listening habits, chances are they won’t be interested in listening to your critique of their listening. Wailing “You never listen to me” will only make them defensive. Some or all of the eight habits are likely to kick in as soon as you broach the subject. Instead, you might try asking for change with exquisite tact and in very small doses. You are most likely to be successful if the person has asked for support in becoming more effective with others or in getting closer to you.
If you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios, perhaps it’s time to make some changes. Lousy listening can have a negative effect on your work, your friendships, and your love life. It’s worth putting in the effort to become better at it.
Like most habits, the habit of lousy listening may be hard to break. But education, perseverance, and practice will pay off. Since there are many websites and books that explain good listening skills, I won’t list them here. Get the information you need and give the issue your time and attention. Work with a therapist or attend a communication skills workshop to get some support. As you become better at listening well, people will be more interested in what you have to say.
Thanks for the reference, Psychcentral