Why We All Need To Learn To Be Better Listeners.


Sophie Hailwood, explains to Cathartic why listening is a key skill that we all need to practice:


Many people go through life wishing that someone would be able to listen to them properly and understand what they are trying to convey. It is easy to believe that you are a good listener but at many times you have to concede that you are an adequate listener at best.


The bad habit of interrupting people before they have finished speaking is one that at some point we have all done, more often than not without realising it. Effectively listening to someone does not just mean waiting for them to finish the sentence they were saying, it is being content to listen and digest what the other person is saying to you without concern about immediately responding or waiting for your turn to speak.


The way we fail to listen can be seen as a symptom of the age that we live in. Modern life is hectic and even communication has become a race to ensure we respond immediately to things. Stress from outstanding emails and correspondence has become part of how we live and I believe that this has also translated itself to how we communicate and understand our fellow human beings.


Taking time to understand, slowing down your need to respond and purely allowing someone to speak as they would like to are things we can all do easily and things that can be of enormous benefit to those with something they need to express but are hesitant to say. Slowing your response time and providing a source of comfort to someone who needs to express themselves can bring the listener great peace of mind.


How Can I Be A Better Listener?


  • Be Present.

Just being there and pretending to take in what someone is saying to you is not sufficient.  Embrace that you are seen as a person who is easy to talk to and focus upon listening and understanding that you are helping the other person.


  • Don't Assume Anything.

People can surprise you, I have generally found that the people I have made assumptions about have been the people most able to surprise me with what they are saying.  Never assume anything about anyone, it isn’t constructive and more often than not you will find that you are wrong.


  • Remove All Distractions.

Its easy these days to be distracted by technology, leave your phone alone and embrace the art of listening.


  • Clarify If You Don't Understand What Is Being Said.

When people are talking to you, it is a method of self expression and as such if it is something that they find difficult to speak about it may not be structures in the most coherent way. If you don’t understand, you can gently clarify and help them structure what they are telling you in a more coherent way.


  • Ask Questions.

Don’t be afraid of asking questions, if you are listening properly it can be apparent that certain questions may help the storyteller express themselves better or elaborate on certain things in a different way.


Cathartic was founded on the principle that we all have a story to tell, but often we have no one to express it to. We are trying to help others by allowing them to say whatever they feel they need to, encouraging clarity of thought and peace of mind. By concentrating on becoming better listeners we can all help other's who may desperately need someone to listen to them but are afraid to tell their story.

If you need someone to listen to you, but are scared to express yourself you can do so on Cathartic. In an environment free from identification, judgement or stigma. We don't mind what you need to say, we want you to be able to say it and free your mind from the problems you are holding in your thoughts. Click on “Your Story” and we are here to listen to what you have to say.