HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives

Actively Listening Prompt #1

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A recent situation in which my listening suffered was when my friend was constantly calling me for a week straight complaining about a problem she was having with a guy at school. There was always new drama in each phone call we had and it was starting to get annoying and even boring.

I felt bad because I knew the situation was difficult for her but it was extremely hard to stay engaged when she was complaining about the same thing everyday. My feedback became worse and worse and I started to become a pseudo-listener every time we talked. I was barely listening to what she would say and my responses were usually something like “Oh wow.”,”That sucks.”, or “That’s crazy.”

Regarding the 5 steps of active listening, I started to falter at step 2. Receiving is the first step and I of course was listening, the sound would travel through my ears. Step 2 is attending and that’s where the root of the problem that affected my listening. I would usually multitask and be on my phone scrolling through social media while we talked so I was less attentive to what she was saying. The 3rd step is understanding and I was pretty good at interpreting what feelings she felt during the situation. I usually felt like I would interpret the situation differently than she had in the moment.  The 4th and 5th step of listening is responding and recalling and that was where I really seemed to fail as a listener. I would give very short and uninterested feedback. Recalling was usually quite difficult for me because I was barely listening.

I understand all of the things I did in this situation are very bad active listening but it was really difficult for me to take on all of her problems while she vented for hours a day to me about the same topic. I am now able to identify where I have failed as a listener and I can change in the future.

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