Listening Skills

The use of  listening skills and empathy during conversations between two people sometimes leads to good relationships and emotional intimacy.

An example of my use of listening skills is a type of conversation my wife, Louise, and I, Lawrence J. Bookbinder, Ph.D., have almost every time she returns from buying groceries.


She is usually brimming with enthusiasm about her "adventures" at the store. I put quotes around the word adventures because although it is an adventure for Louise, grocery shopping is an activity I do not experience as an adventure. She would typically say things such as:

  • "The prices for papayas were the lowest I've seen in a year!"
  • "The check-out clerk was amazed that I was buying eight boxes of frozen chard."
  • "They were out of broccoli again."
When I first started listening about her grocery adventures, I found it boring, struggled to prevent myself from yawning, and had thoughts such as:
  • I don't care that the papayas were a super bargain today.
  • So we won't have broccoli for a while. It's not going to ruin our lives.

One of the Basic Listening Skills   oooooooo

One day I realized that although grocery shopping was boring and burdensone for me, it was definitely not boring for her. It was truly an adventure for her. It had meaning for her. It generated enthusiasm in her.

The basic listening skill I used was recognizing that her grocery shopping trips were important to her. This may seem obvious but it is not. How often do we pay enough attention to the person with whom we are conversing to say to ourselves This is important for her. I'll stop talking about my interests for a while and let her talk?

Effects of My Listening Skills   oooooooo

After Louise relates her adventure and expresses her feelings about it, she usually becomes more emotionally settled. Her good spirits are typically sustained or elevated and the friendly feelings between us are usually strengthened.

MORE INFO: For more information about the use of listening skills in conversations, visit one or more of my websites listed below.

My Other Websites on Listening Skills

Empathy, Listening Skills, and Relationships is a six-page website which includes more information about the use of listening skills in conversations.

Empathy, Listening Skills, and Intimacy is an expanded version of the six-page website.

Listening Skills and Relationships is a discussion board which includes messages from me and my responses to messages from others. To read or post messages, you do not have to register. Visit the board to read questions and answers, ask or answer questions, share experiences, etc.

If you liked this site, e-mailing me your thanks will help sustain my motivation to keep it going for future visitors.

Copyright © 2002 and 2003 by Lawrence J. Bookbinder, Ph.D. and last revised on August 17, 2003. I also have a website on the noncancerous enlarged prostate.