Do You Talk or Listen?

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

One big complaint that guys have about us is that we do more talking than listening. While you might take offense by the comment, if it’s right it can be annoying and kill a relationship in no time flat.

Any of us, men or women, want to know that we are heard and understood. How can that happen if the other person is doing all the talking and none of the listening?

And, don’t mistake hearing for listening. Hearing is the action of getting the sound in your ears and maybe the information in your head. Listening means that you heard, understood, and processed the information into the conversation. When he says he hates cheese and you suggest Mexican food for dinner, it’s pretty obvious that you either aren’t familiar with Mexican cuisine or you didn’t listen to what he was saying.

Another part of listening is giving him time to speak. Don’t interrupt or talk over the top of him, even if he’s taking longer to say something than you think he should or you think what he’s saying is just totally wrong. He may not be right. He might be taking forever to get through his thought process. But, if you respect him and care about him, you’ll give him the time he needs.

We are all different. All men aren’t the same and all women aren’t the same. Some of us process things faster than others and it isn’t gender specific. And, as much as people like to think that women talk more than men, that information was based on faulty research. More recently researchers have found that we all speak about the same number of words per day. (1) But, women typically have a more vast vocabulary.

With great communication skills you can reduce most other problems in a relationship to dust. Great communication skills don’t start with knowing what to say but rather with how to listen. On our bodies, we have two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, and one mouth. The eyes help us to read body language. And, we should learn how to listen twice as much as we speak and speak only after we’ve considered what we are going to say.

As you work through your issues with listening and talking, it’s time to also think about being honest in your communication with your partner. Little lies soon turn into big lies. When those lies are exposed your partner begins to wonder if anything you’ve ever said can be trusted. It might be frightening, but close bonding will occur when you are each open, vulnerable, and honest with your guy.

He’ll be honored that your trusted him with your secrets and he’ll know that you heard him when you can relate your information to his past. Pay attention to his non-verbal communication or body language. A large percentage of what another person is thinking and feeling will be communicated through the way they stand, sit, and look (back to the having two eyes thing!).

Are his arms crossed, eyes averted, or his body turned away from you? At this same time, are you talking more than listening? Try asking questions without challenging him about his thoughts. Don’t say, “You look angry.” But instead, “What are you thinking?” and then wait for the answer. Don’t jump in. Let there be silence until he can answer.

Listen to what he’s saying and how he’s acting to be totally in touch with your conversation. You can’t always be this present. But, if you are never present in your conversations with him, he’s likely to bug out.

(1) University of Arizona: Study Finds No Difference in the Amount Men and Women Talk

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