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Listening: Two Ears/One Mouth

Listening Do's and Don'ts



  • Help your partner feel safe in sharing
  • Draw your partner out

Be Attentive

  • Your body language should say, "I am listening."
  • Use short verbal responses to show interest


  • Ask questions if you are unsure of exactly what your partner means
  • Tell them what you are hearing and ask if you are understanding correctly
  • "It seems to me that you are feeling ________."
  • "Are you saying ________ ?" "Have I understood you correctly?"


  • Acknowledge your partner's feelings
  • Validation does not mean that you have to agree, it just means seeing things from their perspective
  • "That must have been frustrating."



  • Keep the "why don't you" and "maybe you should" to yourself
  • Pay attention to what they are saying rather than thinking of what you should be saying


  • Don't assume you know how your partner is thinking or feeling
  • "What's really bothering you is ____."
  • "Your insecurities are showing."


  • Avoid using global terms such as always and never
  • Stay specific to what is happening now


  • Avoid, "You are ______," types of statements
  • Avoid judging the process by saying things like, "Now we are getting somewhere."


  • Avoid, "Don't worry, everything will be all right." types of statements
  • Avoid trying to pacify with statements like, "You did what anyone would do."