If you’re feeling like your partner just doesn’t get you. And you catch yourself mid-conversation, wondering if they are even paying attention to what you are saying or daydreaming about something else. It might be a sign that they are lacking some listening skills.
Staying connected is the secret to a deep meaningful relationship. And of course, communication is critical. That means you must listen and hear what your partner has to say. Active listening skills help you to understand each other better. Here are six things to remember about active listening.
1.    Pay Attention
It is so easy to get distracted by everything go on around you but when it comes to the most important person in your life, you need to give your partner your undivided attention. Look into each others eyes and stay focused.
2.    Listen to Understand, Not to Prepare Your Response
So many people seem to be listening to you but instead, they are simply preparing their thoughts about how they will respond. Active listening requires full concentration on the words and the body language, to get the whole picture of what is being said.
3.    Show That You’re Listening
Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention. Nod occasionally, smile and use other facial expressions. Make sure your posture is open and inviting, no crossed arms. Small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh, are encouraging.
4.    Provide Feedback
Acknowledge the message. Show you understand what is being said. Sometimes it helps to paraphrase. “What I’m hearing is…” and “Sounds like you are saying…”. Or simply summarize the points periodically.
5.    Don’t Interrupt
Interrupting is a waste of time. It can be frustrating and limits full understanding of the message. Allow each point to be finished before asking questions. If you need to clarify, use phrases like:  “What do you mean when you say…” “Is this what you mean…” Don’t interrupt with counter arguments.
6.    Respond Appropriately
Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking or otherwise belittling. Be candid, open, and honest in your response. Assert your opinions respectfully.
It takes a lot of concentration and determination to be an active listener. When done correctly, you should feel a sense of connection. By mastering the skill of active listening, you will find your conversations much more meaningful and subsequently easier to share your thoughts and ideas with each other. Eventually this will strengthen your relationship. Try it today.

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