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10 factors that block you from listening to your partner

10 factors that block you from listening to your partner


by Ashenafi Kassahun (M.A., Mphil)

Listening is one of the most crucial skills for establishing a healthy relationship. However, we usually don’t properly listen to the conversation of our partner because of many reasons. These are 10 most common psychological factors that may block you from listening to your partner:

  1. Mind reading: Some people focus on trying to finding out the hidden interpretations instead of the content of what the partner is talking about. This sometimes blocks the person to understand the mere meaning of the conversation itself.
  2. Rehearsing: If you are busy with rehearsing what your partner was talking about, you may fail to pay attention to the next conversation.
  3. Filtering: is listening partially some part but not all contents of the conversation. If you are angry or in bad mood, you may focus on the negative aspects of the conversation.
  4. Judgement: Because you have already negatively labelled your partner, you don’t want to listen to her dialog. Instead, you want to blame her. Your judgement blocks your mind from listening to your partner whether the conversation is useful or not.
  5. Day dreaming: Wondering around somewhere into your own fantasies can block you from properly listening to your partner. Your attention may be drifted away to thinking about something else while your body is still with your partner.
  6. Advising: you give less time to your partner to speak a complete sentence because you frequently jump to giving advices.
  7. Sparing: You only want to disagree, argue, and debate without willingness to understand the meaning of the conversation. You are dedicated to defend your own position regardless of the content of the dialog of your partner. This kind of conversation is common with troubled relationship.
  8. I am always right: You want to be always perceived as the right person. As a result, you ask excuse, lie, distort, shout and change a subject to avoid any suggestion that you are wrong.
  9. Derailing: You tend to change the subject of the conversation when it is too personal or threating. You may also try to make humor to evade from the talk because it creates discomfort on you.
  10. Placating: You are so quick to agree to your partner because you are obsessed with being nice and supportive. As a result, you don’t give your partner enough time to express her full idea.


McKay, M., Fanning, P., & Paleg, K. (2006). Couple skills: Making your relationship work (2nd ed). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.