Love Through Active Listening

Researched by Alex Fojas

In Touch Volunteer

With every conversation we have, especially deep ones, with our loved ones is a chance to better understand each other and connect.

There are many ways to show you love and care for someone. Some choose to offer gifts, others prefer to spend quality time together, others show it better though verbalizing it and many more. One of the simplest, and possibly most important, act of love you can do to enrich your relationships is by Listening.

Photo by Andrea Piacquiado

One of the biggest communication problems we have is that we listen to reply, not listen to understand. This is where we draw the line between hearing and listening, and even in listening there’s a next level way to do it: active listening. How do you know it’s active listening, here are some examples:
Reacting Verbally or Non-verbally
Acknowledging what the person with a simple, “yes” or “mhm” lets them know that you’re listening. Even something as simple as nodding or raising your eyebrows helps to show you’re following.

Allowing Time to Listen and Time to Speak
What makes active listening different is that it ensures you and the other person are in a balanced communication. Make sure that you provide enough space for the other person to express themselves before sharing your sentiments. 

Encouraging the person to share more by asking questions
Being asked more about what you’re sharing means there’s interest in what you’re saying. Let the other person explain further what they mean, and how they feel about it.

Be Truly Interested in the Conversation
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify some things, or make comments to continue the conversation. Set aside other things you’re doing and give your time and energy to it, it will show.

Photo by Etienne Boulanger

With every conversation we have, especially deep ones, with our loved ones is a chance to better understand each other and connect. Actively listening to your friend, family or partner creates a stronger understanding between you and them. It helps you to:

See the Situation in Another Perspective
When working with a depressed loved one (for example), one should recognize that some part of this bleak, social landscape is created through their interpretations of events. Paying attention helps them to rehabilitate their interpretations of those events and process their thoughts and feelings about it.

See Your Own Self through a Different View
Remaining neutral and non-judgmental in your responses enables the other person to feel comfortable with sharing their thoughts. It also allows you to see yourself in a different light, discovering your capacity for patience and understanding. Active listening also includes a certain level of self-acknowledgement.

Form a Safe Space Between You and Them
Active listening makes the conversation a safe zone where your loved one can trust that they won’t be shamed, criticized, blamed, or otherwise negatively received. It will help to adjust your communication style to meet your loved one’s needs. This will make them feel accepted, acceptance isn’t necessarily the same thing as agreement; it can be enough to simply make eye contact and say, “Yes, I hear what you are saying.” Those who feel that their loved ones are listening to them and taking them seriously are more likely to be receptive to care.

Build Trust with Each Other
In addition to the higher levels of well-being associated with such positive interactions, discussing positive interactions with a loved one may help capitalize on their experience. Those who are actively encouraging and supportive when listening to their loved ones relate their positive social experience further enhance the relationship experience.. 

Photo by Matheus Ferrero


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New US Regional Psychiatrist Visits In Touch

Keeping In Touch: (from left) In Touch Head of Psychological Services Unit Dr. Julian Montano, Mental Health Services Lead Myrtle Almando, US Embassy Medical Unit rep Mimi Thein, US EMU Regional Medical Officer Psychiatrist Andrea Ross, In Touch Executive Director Mike Calleja, In Touch Foreign Liaison Program relationship managers Marielle Mikkelsen and Daisy Pope-Brien.

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