If He Isn’t A Good Listener, Your Relationship Won’t Go Anywhere

When you’re in a relationship, it’s natural to want to be heard and understood by your partner. While good listeners are unfortunately pretty hard to come by, it’s a non-negotiable quality in a good relationship for me, and it definitely should be for you too.

  1. It makes me feel safe and at ease. This is a big one for me. As an introvert, I tend to come off quiet in groups and don’t feel comfortable opening up to just anyone. Connecting one-on-one is much more meaningful than being a crowd pleaser. A huge part of attraction for me comes down to my comfort level with a guy. When I feel truly heard by someone, I melt.
  2. He can’t get to know me if he never listens. When I’m getting to know someone, I love asking questions that give me a sense of who they really are. Beyond surface interests and small talk, I want to know what makes them tick, what scares them, and all the things they are passionate about. I really don’t mind listening to a guy talk about himself at length because I’m truly interested, but it needs to go both ways. I want someone who shows the same fascination with learning about the real me.
  3. It shows me he cares about what I have to say. There’s nothing worse than trying to express yourself and getting the feeling the other person is only half-listening and making the most minimal of obligatory “yeah, uh huh” sounds. It’s obvious, it sucks, and it completely kills the mood.
  4. There’s nothing better than the look on a guy’s face when he’s truly invested in what you’re talking about. It’s undeniably hot when a guy is focusing his full attention on you and making it obvious that he wants to know more. It makes you feel vulnerable, appreciated, and special. If you don’t feel like that around someone, what’s the point of taking it further?
  5. Conversation compatibility is what matters most. It’s such a cliche, but looks really aren’t all that important, and personality really does matter. Yes, of course there needs to be a base level of physical attraction between partners, but even surface-level chemistry is more complex than just thatWhen two people click, really click, it’s electric. Listening to each other intently makes it about more than sex, but it also makes sex so much better. That’s what I want.
  6. It makes it real in a dating world that doesn’t always feel that way. Power to the people who use Tinder in a way that works for them, but I can’t do it. Maybe I’m too idealistic, but I feel at odds in a dating scene where people scroll through catalogs of potential matches, exchange a few messages, and casually hook-up just because they can. I’m fully aware this is my perception and the stalwart hopeless romantic in me, but when a guy shows he is capable of listening, it adds a layer of depth and feels so much more real.
  7. I need an established connection before I even want to get physical. I’m not saying I have a required number of dates or anything—it’s a little more intuitive than that. My desire to get intimate with someone stems pretty much only from experiencing some sort of meaningful connection, one that I can imagine still feeling afterward. I don’t see the appeal in the casual aspect of casual sex when it’s nothing more than that. My body and mind are just not into it.
  8. Good listeners are typically more sensitive to the needs of others. Good listeners are often more empathetic and more in tune with what those around them are feeling. By listening, they’re able to share in the joyful times and offer support during the tough times. If someone talks mostly about themselves or zones out until it’s their turn to speak again, it’s a lot less likely they’ll pick up on a partner’s needs.
  9. I want to grow with the person I’m in a relationship with. I don’t think you need another person to grow, but being supported in a relationship is definitely one way to experience growth. In order for both partners to grow together, there needs to be an equal balance of sharing and listening. Both people should feel comfortable expressing what’s on their mind as well as confident that their partner is listening.
  10. It’s just way more fulfilling and fun. A lot of these reasons are common sense, but even so, there are a surprising number of crappy listeners out there and relationships where one partner feels unheard. That sucks. Even if I’m attracted to someone initially, I try to follow my instincts if I sense they’re not hearing me or they’re not even trying. It might take a little longer to find someone I feel comfortable opening up with, but I have to believe it’s worth the wait. Talking is the best foreplay!
Cati is a freelance writer, teacher and perpetual expat currently based in Thailand. She's a self-identified introvert fascinated by personality theory and all the quirky ways humans show up in the world. Driven by wanderlust and whims, she loves travel, yoga and mutually satisfying one-on-one conversation. Check out more of her work here.