Intuitive Listening for Deeper Connections

I used to think that there were two types of listeners, good ones and bad ones. A quick google search tells me that there are all kinds of categories and even subcategories of how to define types of listeners, none of which actually cover the type of listening I want to explore. How we listen either creates a space for connection or it shuts it off. As humans, we all have an ego and an agenda, but through emotional honesty and awareness, we can start to notice how we listen and from there make a conscious decision on how we want to participate in conversations. Today I’ll cover THREE TYPES OF LISTENING. Oh and, we all listen in all of these ways at times, so try not to beat yourself up or claim to be the master of wokeness. 


  • This is your typical, everyday, unconscious listening style. The listener filters everything through their own life experiences and they put themselves at the center of the narrative trying to understand how everything they hear relates to them. Listening can often be based on the agenda or needs of the listener and rarely satisfies the person speaking. The subjective listener tends to be listening for an opportunity to throw in their perspective, knowledge, or experiences oftentimes projecting something completely different from what is really said. 
  • Subjective listening can also lead to competitive, combative, or defensive listening for one or both parties. If the initial listener already has a fair share of victim or conflict energy, then what they hear goes through a catabolic (low-vibe) filter and they can easily become defensive. If the initial speaker feels like they aren’t being listened to or understood, then they can shift into a place of frustration and now their connection is thwarted.


  • SPEAKER: I had the toughest time waking up early to work out this morning. 
  • LISTENER: You just have to DO IT! Force yourself because it’s worth it. Whenever I have something to do that I don’t want to, I just… (insert unsolicited advice here).


  • This type of listener tends to be completely focused on the other person. They aren’t trying to determine how everything said relates to them and are genuinely listening, without interrupting. Objective listening is much more compassionate and effective than subjective listening, but it tends to be very surface level and although the interactions can be positive they don’t address the heart of the matter or clear a path for connection. The speaker can almost feel dismissed at times. 


  • SPEAKER: I had the toughest time waking up early to work out this morning. 
  • LISTENER: You struggled but you did it! Yay! Congrats!


  • Much like the objective listener, the intuitive listener is fully engaged with what the speaker is saying without putting themselves at the center of the narrative. Additionally, this listener is considering the speaker’s tone of voice, energy level, and tuning in to how the speaker may be feeling. It’s as if the intuitive listener is listening “between the lines.” Their responses tend to mirror back what the speaker is saying by acknowledging and validating their experience. A lot of times the speaker can be sharing from a completely unconscious place, so when the listener mirrors their sentiment, acknowledges what has been said, and validates their feelings, the speaker feels deeply understood and meaningful connections can be made. 


  • SPEAKER: I had the toughest time waking up early to work out this morning. 
  • LISTENER: It sounds like you really want to prioritize your fitness but you’re exhausted and it’s challenging, maybe even a little frustrating.

Obviously the example used is quite simple and most likely the worst thing that would happen (initially) is a solid eye-roll. However, missed connections over time become emotional walls built between two parties. Either a person feels dismissed regularly and as if the other person just isn’t interested in a deeper connection (objective) or the dance floor is perfect for the victim-conflict tango (subjective). Generally speaking, men tend to be on the precipice of feeling inadequate, and women tend to be on the precipice of feeling undeserving, so unengaged listening overtime can really corrode connections in relationships. This refers to ALL relationships including but not limited to, romantic (same-sex or otherwise,) friendships, working, familial, etc. Not every person you have a conversation with will be a relationship you are trying to build, and there will be times when you use subjective & objective listening consciously, but if someone is important to you it’s worth considering how you show up when they share.

What type of listener are you?