How to listen better

Updated: Oct 11

In our lesson on Deep Relationships with Jordan Peterson we talked about the importance of being a good listener. But how does one learn to be a good listener and what are strategies to help? That is the topic of this lesson. Being a good listener boils down to three things. First, ask questions about your friend’s life and interests. Second, allow for charitable interpretation. Finally, after carefully listening we should respond with relevant comments and questions that help your friends better understand themselves.


The first step in any relationship is to ask questions about your friend’s life and interests. Remember what they said like their families names, where they are from, and what they like to do. Next time you see them you should ask them about these things and then show you care by letting them share. Good friends will return the favor and remember things about your life and ask you in return.


Charitable interpretation means we assume the best of intentions. Communication is hard because we have to take thoughts and put them into words. Sometimes our interpretation of these words can be different from what our friends intended to communicate. That is why it is so important that we not just come to conclusions about what our friends are trying to say. Don’t get hung up on word choices. If you think your understanding is wrong then ask clarifying questions and allow friends to elaborate and clarify what they meant.


After listening to our friends we should respond with relevant comments and questions. This shows we were listening and helps avoid miscommunications. Interestingly, it also helps our friends better understand themselves. People naturally learn faster when we are free to talk through our experiences, emotions, and ideas. Relevant questions and comments that build on instead of redirecting help our friends dive deeper into themselves and discover things they didn’t even know. That’s a big part of what makes good listening so important...it helps us understand ourselves as much as it helps us understand each other.


Being a good listener is arguably one of the most valuable skills we can cultivate. Good listeners not only win more friends, and build deeper relationships...they also learn more about the world and empower others to better understand themselves. In this lesson we shared three strategies for becoming a good listener. First, ask questions about your friend’s life and interests. Second, allow for charitable interpretation. Finally, after carefully listening we should respond with relevant comments and questions that help your friends better understand themselves. Try it out...and let us know how it goes!


Question #1: The first step in any relationship is to...

A. Ask questions about your friend’s life and interests.

B. Analyze your friend for faults

C. Trusting your new friend not to make mistakes

D. Making sure you share the same beliefs

Question #2: Charitable Interpretation means …

A. We assume the best of intentions

B. We encourage our friends to give the charities

C. We must believe that everyone is a good person

D. We don’t set boundaries and let others walk all over us.

Question #3: After listening to our friends we should …

A. Respond with relevant comments and questions

B. Tell them how to fix their problems

C. Say that things we have been waiting to say for five minutes

D. Change the subject and talk about ourselves