HCOM 214: Interpersonal COMM & Conflict

Learning interpersonal communication skills to improve every part of our lives


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Active Listening

Who do you know and consider to be an effective listener? What qualities does he or she possess? What key chapter concepts are most important in helping you understand why the person is an effective listener?

I know a pair of best friends who I always am third-wheeling when I hang out with them both. One of them is an incredible listener but unfortunately, her best friend, isn’t. I’ll name them Max and Caroline, like in 2 Broke Girls, just for simplicity’s sake. Max is a great listener, whenever I needed to vent, I’d go to her and she’d (sometimes reluctantly) listen and give me advice. She being a psychology student, I’d text her jokingly and say I need therapy. She’d provide back-channel cues to indicate that she’s listening and sometimes chime in with a paraphrase to clarify what I’m saying. When I was going through a tough time over the summer, she was the only person I knew who could relate and I went to her advice. I found out later that she’d never told anyone about why her parents were divorced and how much it affected her childhood growing up. Not even her best friend, Caroline. She mentioned that no one asked so she never bothered bringing it up. Caroline can be a narcissistic listener at times with all her “boy problems”. When Max was telling me the whole backstory of her parents’ divorce over the phone, I could hear that she was really upset and choked up by it. I realized that she had had all these emotions bottled up for years. During most of the phone call, I was just listening attentively as I was mostly speechless. At times she’d pause to see if I was still there. I didn’t know what to say and I felt useless, so I just listened as I could tell she’s been dying to have someone to talk to about it. Looking back on it I regret not being more responsive when listening.

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