Few experiences are more disheartening than not being heard. When your conversational partner reacts to you with a faraway look and a monotone “uh-huh,” it makes you feel lonely and invisible. On the flip side, knowing that someone is really listening can make even a terrible problem feel manageable. Unfortunately, people who truly know how to listen are a rarity. “Very few people are really good listeners,” says James E. Sullivan, author of The Good Listener. “It’s not that they’re mean. They just stay stuck in their own world and perspective.” Do you know how to make your friends feel heard? Take this quiz and find out.

Results

Your score is: 0 of 0

0- 2 Points:

You’re a Lousy Listener You’re so pleased with your own opinions and ideas that it’s hard for anyone else to get through to you! Rather than listening, you offer up unsolicited advice or turn the conversation toward yourself. If you want to deepen your connections with others, you’ll need to drastically change the way you interact. One good way to start: The next time you go to a party, focus on other people. You don’t have to refuse to give up any information about yourself; just try to steer the conversation toward others. You may wind up meeting someone who’s fascinating, plus you’re guaranteed to improve your existing relationships. Read on for more listening tips.

3- 5 Points:

You’re an Average Listener You have good intentions and would like to be a good listener, but sometimes you have difficulty getting out of your own head. You may have a hard time letting friends finish talking — you’re eager to tell them what you think! When a friend tells you about a problem she’s having, you can sometimes be a bit too quick to relate it back to your own situation. There’s nothing wrong with swapping stories; that’s the stuff of great conversation. Just make sure you take the time to really hear what others have to say. Read on for more listening tips.

6- 7 Points:

You’re a Learned Listener! Congratulations: You have that rare ability to really hear your friends out. You’re aware of when you aren’t fully grasping what someone else is saying — either because you’re distracted or because they’ve left out a critical piece of information — and how to fix that; you almost always know how to ask the right questions. It should be no surprise if friends and acquaintances always look to confide in you. Just be careful not to let others suck you dry. Listening is great, but don’t forget to speak your mind occasionally. Read on for more listening tips.

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