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Chances are, you’ve experienced some inactive listening yourself.
Maybe you’ve tried to vent to a friend about difficulties at work while they kept their eyes on their phone, occasionally holding it up to show you their latest Tinder match. They said “Huh” or “Wow” or “That sucks” in mostly the right places, but you still didn’t feel as if they really understood your struggles.
Active listening requires more than open ears — it involves actually engaging with the speaker by showing empathy and support. It shows you care about what the other person has to say, and signals that you’ll come away with an understanding that goes below the surface.