HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Active Listening

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The most active listener in my life is my best friend Leah. She has been my best friend since the second grade and knows me better than just about anyone else. Due to the fact that she has so much knowledge about me, she has learned the ways I most like to be listened to and always responds to me exactly as needed whether it be analyzing, empathizing, or just letting me talk. Main habits she employs are maintaining eye contact, nodding, asking clarification questions, and making me feel like what I am telling her is important. Because she is such a talented listener, she is the first person I go to with all kinds of problems and I trust her with anything because I know I will be listened to, given feedback, and given advice when needed. She employs plenty of back-channel cues and paraphrases if she does not understand while still managing to keep the conversation going. Whereas my other friends friends offer quick solutions and attempt to solve problems she will mimic my emotions and feel them the same way I do in order to best understand how to respond to me.

I have encountered many different type of listeners in my life and I personally feel most comfortable with people-oriented listeners. My best friend and I both fit most under this listening type as well as content-oriented listening at the necessary times. My experience with narcissistic and aggressive listeners has been completely negative and I find it very difficult to communicate with them. Pseudo and selective listeners are also overall unpleasant which is why I love that my friend hardly employs these tactics. Many of the conversations with my friend require both of us venting about things that have been bothering us and its very therapeutic as we both relieve pent up emotions. It’s really difficult being away from her after seeing her almost every day for over 10 years, so we call each other often when we need to talk and she is still my go to person for all kinds of emotional support.

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