The Lost Art of Listening
How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships
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"That isn't what I meant!" Truly listening and being heard is far from simple, even between people who care about each other. This perennial bestseller--now revised and updated for the digital age--analyzes how any conversation can go off the rails and provides essential skills for building mutual understanding. Thoughtful, witty, and empathic, the book is filled with vivid stories of couples, coworkers, friends, and family working through tough emotions and navigating differences of all kinds.
Learn ways you can:
*Hear what people mean, not just what they say.
*Share a difference of opinion without sounding dismissive.
*Encourage uncommunicative people to open up.
*Make sure both sides get heard in heated discussions.
*Get through to someone who never seems to listen.
*Ask for support without getting unwanted advice.
*Reduce miscommunication in texts and online.
From renowned therapist Michael P. Nichols and new coauthor Martha B. Straus, the third edition reflects the huge impact of technology and social media on relationships, and gives advice for talking to loved ones across social and political divides
Table of Contents
I. The Yearning to Be Understood
1. "Did You Hear What I Said?": Why Listening Is So Important
2. "Thanks for Listening": How Listening Shapes Us and Connects Us to Each Other
3. "Why Don’t People Listen?": How Communication Breaks Down
II. The Real Reasons People Don’t Listen
4. "When Is It My Turn?": The Heart of Listening--The Struggle to Suspend Our Own Needs
5. "You Hear Only What You Want to Hear": How Hidden Assumptions Prejudice Listening
6. "Why Do You Always Overreact?": How Emotionality Makes Us Defensive
III. Getting Through to Each Other
7. "Take Your Time--I’m Listening": How to Let Go of Your Own Needs and Listen
8. "I Never Knew You Felt That Way": Empathy Begins with Openness
9. "I Can See This Is Really Upsetting You": How to Defuse Emotional Reactivity
IV. Listening in Context
10. "It Takes Two to Tango": Listening Between Intimate Partners
11. "Nobody Around Here Ever Listens to Me!": How to Listen and Be Heard within the Family
12. "I Knew You’d Understand": Being Able to Hear Friends and Colleagues
13. "I’m Not Wasting My Time Talking to That Person!": How to Listen to People It’s Impossible to Agree With
Michael P. Nichols, PhD, has been practicing and teaching family therapy since the 1970s. He is Professor of Psychology at the College of William and Mary. Dr. Nichols is the author of numerous books for general readers, professionals, and students.
Martha B. Straus, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire. Dr. Straus consults and trains internationally. The author of books including Treating Trauma in Adolescents, she maintains a small private practice in Vermont.
"I considered myself a good listener before reading this book, and was repeatedly surprised when I recognized myself in the examples of what not to do! It helped me immediately with my spouse, giving me tools to really listen and understand, even when we disagree, so we can find our way to a compromise. I love how funny the authors are and the great examples they weave in. I highly recommend this book to anyone!"--Christina H., Brattleboro, Vermont
"This book delivers countless epiphanies that will help you become a better listener in all of your relationships. The questions in each chapter guide you to actively explore your own communication strengths and blind spots. The genius of this book comes from its well-told, engaging stories and anecdotes, which are wise and never preachy. The third edition has been superbly updated to cover the impact of technology, and offers invaluable advice for talking across our ever-widening political and social divides."--Anne K. Fishel, PhD, coauthor of Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook
"This book could not have come along at a better time. With the bombardment of noise and the narrowing of our screen sizes, everyone needs to read this book to remind us that there is nothing more important than tuning in to one another. The Lost Art of Listening should be required reading!"--Tammy Nelson, PhD, author of The New Monogamy
"As a school psychologist and trainer of helping professionals, I found the insights and ideas of this book to be immediately applicable to everything I do, from meeting with a struggling student to consulting with a discouraged parent or teacher. That’s because listening is central to effective helping and to every important relationship in our lives. The book’s many practical tips and relatable examples will help readers listen themselves into better relationships with their clients, coworkers, loved ones, and anyone else with whom they regularly interact."--John J. Murphy, PhD, Department of Psychology and Counseling, University of Central Arkansas
"It will be hard for readers not to see themselves, and everyone they listen to, in this book. Drs. Nichols and Straus offer an insider's look at what can go wrong in the two-sided process of communicating. Whether you want to improve communication with family, colleagues, or friends, you will learn the skills to listen for the meaning behind the message. The book also takes on the other side of conversation--speaking with clarity. Drs. Nichols and Straus masterfully demonstrate how to open conversations that invite the listener to hear."--Margaret Wehrenberg, PsyD, author of The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques
“In my work as a shepherding pastor, then later as a trainer of ministers at the university level, I had always wondered, 'Can empathy be taught?' I was delighted to find this vital caregiving skill addressed in this book. I have used this book in training lay caregivers, pastors, and counselors in the indispensable art of really listening. I believe it is a powerful training resource for our spiritual care and pastoral care practicum coursework. The third edition's new chapter on listening to those with whom you don’t agree could not have come at a more crucial time in our history.”--Rev. Steven Seaton, MM, co-founder of the Pastoral Care degree programs, Mid-America Christian University-