To be a good listener is much harder than it initially sounds.
To really listen to what someone is saying is not a passive activity and it goes way beyond just allowing someone to have their say without interruption.
So often we jump in with unasked for advice or whilst we are ‘listening’ we might be making judgments based on our own experiences or thinking about what we are going to say in reply. Sometimes when this happens, the person who is talking feels short changed, even if they don’t really know why. The connection they were seeking, even if at an unconscious level, wasn’t made. Sometimes no response, other than acknowledgement, is needed, they may simply want to express their opinion, and to be truly heard.
I once heard a lecturer in communications say that the MOST loving thing you can do for those you love is to really listen to them; to allow someone to truly express how they feel, without judgment and with genuine acceptance that it has validity, as their view of the world.
Like any skill, it takes time and effort to learn active listening; you may not learn to do it over night and you may not be able to put it into practice all the time, but as with many things, the more you do it, the more natural it becomes. Honing your listening skills can honestly transform relationships, replacing frustration with understanding and hostility with kindness.
If someone you love accuses you of not really listening to them or if you feel a lack of connection, just try to listen, quietly, with an open mind and see what a difference it makes.
It would be great to hear about any positive results.