#Askingforafriend: The art of listening

June 29, 2021 / by / 0 Comment

By Kiesha Collins
GCU Office of Student Care

So often we are taught that what makes a person a “good listener” is their ability to actively listen in a given moment. But what does active listening really mean, and how can you learn to be a better listener for those around you?

Active listening is a skill that involves engaging and tuning into what is being communicated. In order to help you build this skill, check out some of the dos and don’ts for better listening:


  • Try to understand what the other person is trying to communicate from their
  • Ask clarifying questions if needed. Be curious!
  • Reflect back what the speaker is sharing. This lets them know that they are being heard and that you understand.
  • Think of yourself as a passenger on the speaker’s train of thought, follow where they want to go and respect the pace they choose.
  • Be mindful of how much you’re speaking. Are you turning the conversation back onto yourself and making it about you? If so, return to giving the speaker the space to share.
  • If you catch yourself interrupting, getting distracted, misunderstanding or becoming defensive, then attempt to repair the situation.
  • Be respectful and hold back on any judgment.


  • Offer advice or try to solve the speaker’s issue unless they ask you for guidance.
  • Plan what you’re going to say or wait for your turn to speak.
  • Take what the speaker is saying so personally that you are unable to hear what they are trying to share with you.
  • Attempt to finish or guess what the other person is saying.
  • Become distracted by something else or attempt to multitask.
  • Change the subject or disregard what the speaker has shared.

Try not to worry about being the perfect listener. The best gift you can give someone is to show up and remain present with them.

Next time you are speaking with a friend, family member or romantic partner, try to be mindful of the dos and don’ts of active listening.


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