How Does Poor Listening Affect Relationships?

Listening is important for communication.Listening is important for communication.

Poor listening is a negative character trait that many people have. It is negative because it ultimately affects communication and leaves a negative impact on others. If you're not receiving information very well, then you're not communicating effectively, no matter how good you are at giving information. If communication is affected, then relationships are affected, as relationships ultimately depend on communication.

Lack of Clarification

Listening skills are not just about being attentive. A good listener makes sure he receives the message rather than just hearing the words. So, if a husband asks his wife to do him a favor and she doesn't clarify as to what he meant, then doesn't follow through correctly, there will be strain on the relationship. If she'd practiced good listening skills and put an effort toward understanding what he was asking for, this conflict would not have happened.

Unproductive Conflicts

Some poor listeners are poor listeners because they become overly emotional too easily. If this is the case, it is hard to have a conflict or a disagreement that actually comes to a resolution. This is because one person in the disagreement is not listening but rather is just becoming emotional and turning the disagreement into a fight. Effective listening skills allow you to tune into conflict and hear what others have to say. When you do the opposite, you help create conflict that could've been avoided.


Poor listening is a matter of interpretation as well as a matter of actual listening. Some poor listeners hear the words, but they interpret any ambiguous statements to fit with their own preconceived notions. This affects a relationship negatively because the person talking feels like she is never being heard while the poor listener feels as if he is always being attacked.


Poor listeners often interrupt the people talking to them. This has a detrimental effect on relationships because it makes the speaker feel less valued. After all, if you value someone, then you also value what she has to say. Interrupting implies that you don't value the message a speaker is giving you, and this can cause a lot of strain on a relationship.

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About the Author

Sam Grover began writing in 2005, also having worked as a behavior therapist and teacher. His work has appeared in New Zealand publications "Critic" and "Logic," where he covered political and educational issues. Grover graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Arts in history.

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