Are You A Bad Listener?

What, me bad at listening? No way!

Great communication skills involve great listening skills. If we are trying to build relationships, we need to respect others, and build true understanding of what they are saying to us. It will involve a level of letting go of our own self-centeredness to enable us to truly engage with others.

Have a look at these traits of bad listening skills:

Interruptions that are unintentional or serve an important or useful purpose are not considered bad listening. When interrupting becomes a habit or is used in an attempt to dominate a conversation, then it is a barrier to effective listening.

Distorted listening occurs when we incorrectly recall information, skew information to fit our expectations or existing schemata, or add material to embellish or change information.

Eavesdropping is a planned attempt to secretly listen to a conversation, which is a violation of the speakers’ privacy.

Aggressive listening is a bad listening practice in which people pay attention to a speaker in order to attack something they say.

Narcissistic listening is self-centered and self-absorbed listening in which listeners try to make the interaction about them by interrupting, changing the subject, or drawing attention away from others.

Defensive listening is a barrier to listening where you perceive an attack where one does not really exist.

Selective listening is listening for the content, but ignore the relational meaning.
Insensitive listening is listening for content, but ignoring the relational meaning and any nonverbal cues you are given.

Pseudo-listening is “fake listening,” in that people behave like they are paying attention and listening when they actually are not.

Source: Bad Listening Practices, Libretexts Social Sciences

When you listen to others, how are your interactions? Do others enjoy your conversation or do they avoid you? Do you exhibit any of these traits? Or if you are talking to someone else, do you see these behaviors appear in others?

And if you do, or get feedback that that you do, what might you do to improve them?

Or perhaps do you deny that you exhibit any of these? How might you know if you did or didn’t?

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