I chose this article because it highlights how important listening, especially active listening is in all of our lives regardless of the relationship. If one is using active listening, then you are focusing on who you are listening to, whether it be a group setting or a one on one conversation. The listener should be able to repeat back, in their own words, what the other person has said. This does not necessarily indicate agreement, just that you understand what that person is saying or trying to say.
The article highlights the fact that most people in relationships “think” they are great listeners when this is usually not the case, as well as how developing better listening skills can dramatically improve communication problems. If one party were to have to give a summary of what the other person said on order to save their lives, they would be in serious trouble most of the time.
One of the main reasons this may be happening in an intimate relationship during a conflict is that while the person is outlining what the problem or problems are, the other person is busy coming up with a defense or counter attack. This usually only serves to make matters worse for an already upset person, who becomes more upset when they realize they don’t have the other person’s full attention. The author goes on to lay out exactly what active listening involves.
Active listening, according to the author, “…is, if practiced and mastered, the best gift you can give your partner.” Listening should be more than merely waiting for your turn to speak, it is a skill and activity when used properly. It should give one a better understanding of what the other person’s feelings are and what they are trying to say. Irene Hansen Savarese lists the components of what makes a good and active listener; it is not only an activity but it is also an emotional.