I want to start this post with a beautiful quote which I think will help many people understand the following paragraphs :

“The first duty of love is to listen”

This sentence is attributed to Paul Tichillin and it reminds us of one of the most important things within any human relationship. The ability to listen. Through this post I want to convey to you my opinion regarding this subject, how listening is vital to healthy relationships and how you can certainly improve your ability to listen.

Have you ever been advised that the best way to score points in a date with a woman is to listen ? – Or if you are a woman – do you enjoy the company of a man who knows how to listen to you ? This dating advice and the fact that both man and woman like companions who listen to them is of course a sign of the absolutely vital importance that listeting has within any healthy relationship. Through listening not only do you learn more about the person you are with but you also let them know that you care about what they have to say.

This is why I believe that the above quote is so beautiful. Truly the best duty of love is to listen because when you care for someone, what they say to you has a very high level of importance. It doesn’t matter if they are talking to you about their latest fight in the office or if you are discussing the color of the living room wall, it is the fact that you listen and you acknowledge the other person’s beliefs and opinions what makes the actual communication successful. Many people can hear a conversation but to listen implies that – not only do you hear – but you assimilate and understand all the words that you have been told.

Many people also believe that listening is a passive endeavour in which you merely sit down like a statue and listen to what somebody has to say. On the contrary, true listening requires you to participate actively in a conversation in a way that shows your true care and understanding of the person’s message. For example, if you are just standing there like an idiot without saying anything while your partner is talking to you about new coffee tables, then you are not listening and you’re in fact probably drifting to another place while this is happening. You need to get involved – ask questions – participate actively in what is going on without making the conversation about you. In my experience, a great relationship evolves a lot from mutual listening and the fact that you both care genuinely about what the other person says no matter how trivial the subject may be to you.

In the end – listening is about the person at the other side of the conversation – not about you. Having the ability to take turns to be the listener and speaker is one of the true marks of a successful personal relationship; something which speaks about true communication and a real connection between the people involved within it. I am not a perfect listener by any chance and I occasionally drift and forget things within conversations but I do make a great effort to engage the people I speak with and understand and truly listen to whatever they are saying to me. In the end – it is absolutely true – the first duty of love is to listen 🙂