I have learned a lot after my second long distance relationship failed. How valuable becoming a good listener is? Taking few steps to improve my listening skills completely changed the way I was handling my existing long distance romance. I’m telling you: Your listening abilities will greatly impact the way you cope with the distance in your LDR… positively!
While most people have heard “Listening is different from hearing,” and few may even say it’s a beautiful saying. Few people only understand what it means and they know what actually involved in applying it. Specifically to a long distance relationship. Let’s start with the basics:
Hearing vs. Listening
The first thing to understand about the terms “hearing” and “listening” is:
One is a subset of the other; more specifically, hearing is a subset of listening. What actually it means is that listening always involves hearing, among other necessary actions. While hearing, by itself, doesn’t necessarily translate to listening. It’s almost rocket science, I know!
The reason why such relationship exists between the two terms is because hearing is simply one of the functions of the five human senses. Particularly, the one that involves being able to sense sound, including a partner’s voice, through one’s ears.
On the other hand, listening goes beyond merely using one of the five senses. In essence, it involves making all the five senses available for gathering information and using one’s reasoning to most sensibly process the information that the five senses have gathered. Thus, listening is really more like observing with interpretation added to it.
To illustrate the concept, proper listening during a date involves opening one’s senses in several ways. Some questions a good listener may ask himself/herself during a date are:
“What does the way my partner is dressed up, say about how he/she perceives this date?”
“Did he/she put any cologne or perfume to indicate that this date is special?”
“How is my partner speaking to me?”
“What is my partner saying?”
“How is my partner reacting to physical contact with me?”
And so on.
Good listening shouldn’t stop there, though. Instead, it should proceed with the attempt to answer the question:
“What do all of these things mean in terms of what my partner is trying to tell me or maybe trying to hide from me?”
How Good Listening Skills Can Help a Long Distance Relationship
Good listening skills are of particular importance for the maintenance of a long distance relationship, because the absence of each other’s physical presence limits both parties’ listening capabilities.
Even with the magic of video calling; the interaction between two parties to a long distance relationship is just not the same.
Body language, which is an important factor to understand one’s current emotional state properly is harder to detect in a long distance relationship. That’s another considerable challenge because the way the body language of your partner reacts to what you say important information that aids effective listening.
Heightened Listening in a Long Distance Relationship
Listening in a long distance relationship requires heightening the limited senses that are available to a partner. Thus, more focus needs to be given to the sense of hearing for phone calls made, the sense of sight for video calls made, and interpretation of letters written or messages sent.
While sharpening one’s senses for heightened listening may seem like, it requires a psychology degree to be done right, that’s not really the case.
What it really requires is a conscious decision to be more sensitive to the limited information being made available in the similarly limited interaction between the couple. That doesn’t sound easy, but really, making the choice to listen with a more heightened awareness delivers results that allow the parties to a long distance relationship to learn more about each other despite the limited interaction between the couple.
Parties to a long distance relationship however, should also be careful to make sure that heightened listening isn’t distorted by over reading. This occurs in the “interpretation” part of listening when unjustified conclusions are reached from the unreasonable interpretation of the information gathered by the senses.
Agree? Don’t forget to share your thoughts below in the comment area.