Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply. - Stephen R Covey.
Unfortunately this is all too true these days, we tend to listen but not truly receive the information and answer not having fully considered our response.
I'm a big fan of TED talks and as Julian Treasure says 'We're losing our listening - We spend 60% of our time listening but we only retain 25% of what we hear.'
I think one of the most important parts of getting to know someone and more specifically dating is being able to listen. Being an active listener is an invaluable life skill. Why do we hear the phrase 'they're such a great listener'? Although unfortunately it seems to have rather negative/comic connotations these days, in the vein of being friend zoned. For some reason being called a good listener is a bad thing??
I see it happen every day on the bus or a coffee shop or at our speed dating events, when people don't listen. How frustrating is it when somebody at Starbucks gets your order wrong or writes down the wrong name!?
Listening is one of your main ways to connect to people, that's what we are all ultimately looking for isn't it? Connection.
I understand sometimes when we're dating we can be worried about how we come across and focus on ourselves or worry about the awkward silence so are thinking of what to say next - when we should just be listening. If we are truly listening then we'll know what to say next.
But like the quote from Stephen R Covey, it's more than just replying, we need to listen to understand and this is where we fall down. We all have different opinions, views, light musings on a range of different topics but that does not mean to say we know better. We can be all too quick to jump down someone's throat because they have a different opinion. Take the time to understand their opinion it might change yours, it might be very valid and eye opening or it might help you understand how to enlighten them.
A little bit more on topic now. When we're dating and we're doing all the talking, there's no awkward silences and you've told them your life story – you might walk away thinking 'Well that went well!'. It probably didn't, where's the connection? They know all about you and you know nothing about them. As much as you sell yourself, you still want to see if they're right for you. This is more common these days and something that I feel is a hangover from dating apps when we see someone, we fancy them but we don't even know them and it seems to be the only thing that matters.
My top tip: Take the time to get to know someone and always LISTEN.
I guarantee the date will go well. Now I'm not saying that means you've scored or get a second date but it means you've actually got to know that person and maybe despite the nice time you had, you've realised it wasn't meant to be. Maybe even saved yourself some time in the long run or that by listening realised there was more to this person than meets the eye.
Next time you're out and about or on a date, take the time to really listen to whoever you're with. You'll be surprised what you'll discover. Let's start listening to one another to understand and not just reply.
Stuart is the Business Development Director for Original Dating and has been a regular host for many years, making him an expert in the field of offline dating. Watch out for his regular posts full of dating tips and advice.