Why Listening Without Giving Your Opinion Actually Builds Stronger Relationships

Simple Takeaway:

People love to feel heard and noticed. Becoming a good listener is scientifically proven to build stronger, more meaningful connections. When people are talking, most of the time they just want you to listen without voicing your opinion. Train yourself to listen without offering advice unless asked, and your relational equity will increase tremendously.

People love feeling heard.

Studies have verified that good listeners build stronger relationships.

The problem is, our opinions make our ears dull. And it’s human nature to offer opinions.

When we’re having conversations with other people, our natural tendency is to try to help out by solving their problem.

That’s why one of the most important disciplines we can develop in ourselves is to listen without giving advice.

Most of the time, when people are telling us about things going on in their lives, they’re really just looking for someone to listen (and only listen).

Most of us know what we should be doing, and very few times in our lives do we genuinely need more information in order to make the right decision.

More often than not, what we need is to flesh out the information we already have and gain perspective in order to move forward.

In other words:

When people are telling you about an issue or a problem they’re facing, more often than not, they’re just working through their own thoughts and trying to incorporate you in that process.

Your job is to listen and to probe when necessary.

Don’t offer advice, because they’re probably not looking for it, and you will just be disappointed when it looks like they’re not taking your advice.

Plus, if you keep offering advice every time a friend opens up to you, you end up coming across as the high-and-mighty jerk.

Most people are just looking to gain perspective on their problems.

They may not even know they’re looking for perspective, but once they gain it, they’re grateful.

One of the most powerful things we can do in a relationship is offer perspective and help them see their situation through another lens.

You don’t have to give instructions for someone to see a new perspective.

It may be maddening to hold your tongue, but try waiting until they ask for advice. If they want it, they will ask for it.

Every now and then (and I do mean literally only every now and then) we need to call out people close to us when they’re doing something unhealthy in their life. But more often than not, that’s not the case.

If you’ll learn to start being a listening ear that probes where necessary and a friend who helps gain perspective instead of offering opinions, building strong relationships will come a lot easier.