Simon says, “Be open to your significant other’s feelings, point of view, and opinions.”
“Listen and learn.” Now, where did you hear that before? Is your old friend Simon repeating himself? Go figure. It is beginning to seem like there are only a few principles that you need to adopt to be a fully competent participant in a long-term relationship. Could it be that you only need to do the right things right, the first time, on time, every time?
Congratulations! You have got it; and “Listen and learn,” is certainly one of those right things to do. The key is knowing how and when to listen and then understanding what you need to learn.
If this is not always easy for you, it may help to know that:
Some people have a high Cognitive Quotient (CQ). They catch on unusually quickly to opinions and concepts.
Others have a high Social Quotient (SQ). They are extraordinarily quick to see perspective and point of view.
Others have a high Emotional Quotient (EQ). They have an uncommon ability to accurately interpret the feelings and inner experiences of others.
Keeping in mind that none of the quotients has anything to do with intelligence, most everyone is high on one quotient, some on two, but few are high on all three. Your first step is to honestly admit to yourself which of the three is your highest quotient and, with equal candor, which is your lowest. That is where increasing your Listening/Learning Quotient (LLQ) starts.
Start with your lowest quotient:
If your CQ is lowest, you can easily miss the point, not really understand your significant other’s opinion. You might even fail to see that there is anything important to be understood.
If your SQ is lowest, you can easily overlook the fact that your significant other’s perspective or point of view is different than yours. For you, everyone sees everything as you do, from your perspective.
If your EQ is lowest, you can be unaware that there are any feelings or emotions to consider. Your significant other may “act” upset; but you do not have any idea why or how bad it truly is.
Simon’s point is that, no matter how receptive you think you are, there is always at least one of the three areas where you probably do not have a clue. Call this your interpersonal blind spot.
Now, honestly focus on your highest quotient. Call this your interpersonal antenna. The hidden point is that this is your nemesis. Most people think that their interpersonal blind spot is the source of their relationship difficulties. To the contrary, their “communication problems” usually have to do more with the receptive strength of their interpersonal antenna. It picks up such strong signals that other signals do not stand a chance.
If your CQ is highest, those signals over power emotions and point of view.
If your EQ is highest, those signals are so strong that opinions and perspective are obliterated.
If your SQ is highest, you are so concerned about how others see you that you push away feelings and important thoughts.
If you choose to follow Simon’s guidance, being open to your significant other’s feelings, point of view, and opinions is important to you. You now also know that you have a blind spot with at least one of the three (CQ, EQ, SQ); but it is your interpersonal antenna that is the source of the problem. Knowing this, you need to turn down your antenna.
If your CQ is highest, coach yourself to silently say three times,
“The ideas and opinions here are not as important as I think they are. Feelings and point of view are more important than they appear to me.”
If your SQ is highest, silently say three times,
“Seeing everyone’s point of view and perspective is less important than I think. Feelings and what people think are more critical than they seem to me.”
If your EQ is highest, silently say three times,
“This is not nearly so much of a feeling thing as it seems to me. What people think and where they are coming from need higher priority than I am giving them.”
Simon’s point is this. If you want to be open to your significant other, listen and learn to turn down your interpersonal antenna. How low should it go? Low enough that the other two interpersonal areas are coming through as loud and clear as the one your antenna prefers. Keep tuning until you have the signals into harmonious balance. Your significant other will gladly let you know when you get it right.