Active Listening: Engaged Non-Verbal Cues:
- When someone is actively listening, they use non-verbal cues to demonstrate their interest in what is being said. They may nod, lean forward, make eye contact or exhibit facial expressions in response to the conversation. This encourages the speaker to continue talking and helps them to feel as though the listener is interested.
Passive Listening: No Non-Verbal Cues:
- A passive listener provides little to no non-verbal feedback to demonstrate that they are engaged in what is being said. Although a passive listener will usually remain still while the speaker talks, they will not make eye contact, nod or use empathetic facial expressions. The message that the speaker receives is that the listener is hearing them, but is not truly interested.
Definitions from Difference Between Active Listening & Passive Listening
Last week, a friend of mine came over for coffee and talked to me about a delicate issue she has in her life. She was upset and unsettle and I could feel it was hard for her to talk about this subject. I was listening to what she was saying, nodding, saying “yes, yes” and having facial expressions. This is how I always listen to people telling me their stories. I’m an active listener and I always thought this was a way of encouraging people to talk. And, when I talk to my friends, I do like when they listen actively to what I say. When she finished, I told her what I was thinking about her situation and I also gave her some advices according to my personal experience. She told me how she was feeling and we continued our discussion for a while.
Hubby was sitting in the other room during our conversation. The next day, he spoke to me about the difficulties of my friend’s situation. He also told me, from his point of view, my friend couldn’t express all what she wanted because I kept interrupting her with my nodding and saying “yes ‘yes” constantly.
I have to tell you hubby is a passive listener. When I tell him something, he listens with almost no expression in his face. Most of the time he don’t answer straight away and I have to ask him what he thinks. He will usually get back to the subject but, sometimes, hours later. It’s as if he needs to think before giving me an answer or an opinion. I know he does listen to what I say but I also get annoyed by his behaviour.
I’m the opposite; I usually say straight away what I think of a situation. When I get passionate about a subject, the tone of my voice gets louder and louder. I have a lot of difficulties with passive listening. Sometimes, I feel like asking the other person: “Did you understand what I just said?”
This conversation with hubby got me thinking: Was I interrupting my friend while she was talking? Was she feeling comfortable to say everything she wanted too?
I also thought about another conversation I had once with another friend. She told me her partner gets really annoyed when she is too emotional or passionate about a subject. He said he could not deal with her when she was behaving in such manner. He seemed to not understand this was only a way for her to express herself; it didn’t mean she was upset against him. It was just a way to make him understand exactly how she was feeling by putting emphasis on her emotions.
There is a world between how women and men express themselves. If my girlfriend talks to me with a lot of emotions, I just think she needs to get it all out. But, my personal experience tells me when I talk or listen to a man, I need to be calm and not show too many emotions other way he wouldn’t know how to react and deal with me and the situation.
So, I’m very curious to know:
Are you an active or a passive listener?
Do you prefer active or passive listening?
If you get too emotional in a conversation, how does your partner react?
If you have an interest in knitting, you can have a look at the first part of my series: casting on.
Linking this post with Jess over at Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays.