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Listening May Be the Key in Decreasing Partner Defensiveness

When discussing controversial or emotionally charged topics, it is very easy to put up defenses. This is because most people in these discussions don’t try and understand where the other person is coming from and instead do whatever they can to win the argument or discussion. But when both parties engage in active listening, then people were found to be less defensive and anxious when sharing their thoughts.

Why does active listening lower people’s defenses? This is because having someone listen to you is a basic human need. It’s important for people to feel understood and feeling understood fosters feelings of intimacy which all humans seek. Feeling understood can also soothe abandonment fears.