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5 Tricks to Being a Good Listener (Or Just Looking Like One)

Tell us, really, how often does your woman screech, "Are you even listening to me??"

Men often think they have more to gain - earning respect and admiration and controlling other's thoughts - by speaking than by listening. But to actually do all that, first you're going to have to hear what your woman has to say.

Here's what it takes to really listen to your woman - or at least do a good job of convincing her you are.

Listen Up Lesson #1: Pay attention (or look like it).

Listening is actual, physical work; your heart rate picks up, your body temperature rises and your breathing increases. It only seems easy because our minds understand speech much faster than we speak (600 or so words per minute versus 125-150 words per minute). Since we can figure out what the speaker is saying faster than they can spit it out, we have plenty of time to daydream. Stay alert and focused on the speaker's message to keep your mind from wandering off. And ditch the external distractions, like the blaring television or loud music.

Listen Up Lesson #2: Stop talking.

Most of the time when we're "listening" we're really just planning what we want to say when it's our turn. Use your listening time to try to understand what the speaker is actually saying. If you simply must open your mouth, use it to ask questions or paraphrase the message to let her know you're really trying to get it.

Listen Up Lesson #3: Don't assume.

Often we stop listening when we assume we already know what the speaker is going to say, or that it's not important or too hard to understand anyway. Try to remember a couple things here: first, that you have to get what your partner is saying before you can make judgments on it, and second, that you don't have to agree with your woman, just try to understand her.

Listen Up Lesson #4: Note emotions.

Women being the emotional creatures that they are (generally speaking), often how she's feeling is more important than what she's actually saying. Win points by picking up on this: "Wow, you sound really upset/angry/frustrated."

Listen Up Lesson #5: Don't help.

One of the most common complaints from women when talking to their men is that men believe they need to provide all the answers to her "problems." When she wants your suggestions, she'll ask. Otherwise, assume she's just venting. Researchers have found that connecting with another through talking trigger the pleasure centers in a woman's brain with a rush of dopamine and oxytocin - the biggest neurological reward you can get outside an orgasm.

Doesn't listening to her sound better already?

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