The Difference Between Not Talking & Truly Listening

Article updated 2018

Men need to be listened to as well. Common sense, right? Just not so common in action for us women.

As women sometimes it’s in our nature to just go up to a man and try and make certain that he hears what we’re feeling and hears our words even if we repeat the same thing over and over again using different words. In the end, after we’re done, he doesn’t feel listened to at all.

Then, if he complains that he doesn’t feel listened to, he runs the risk of us seeing him as less of a man. This starts a cycle of isolation for the man. (Click to complete the quiz “Am I Dating a Commitment Friendly Man?”)

It took me a few tries to get what the difference between listening and NOT talking is. I thought that, if somebody told me I wasn’t listening, then to solve that problem, all I’d need to do is STOP TALKING. Wow, was I wrong. (read my article on how to respect a man)

Instead of not talking, I discovered what listening actually is:

Listening = actually caring enough to switch from selfish to compassionate.

Not talking and compassionate are two very different things.

As such, describing listening with the word listening doesn’t do it justice. What I think we really mean when we want to be listened to is that we want another person to be compassionate towards us.

A new word for listening – Compassioning.

Even if you stop talking, the other person can nonetheless feel if you are not actually listening (compassioning; it’s a new word I’ve personally given to listening).

If a man says to you: “You’re not listening to me!” and you respond with “I AM listening!” you’re actually not listening at all.

If a man says to you: “You are not listening to me! I’m not being listened to!” and you go silent and think listening means shutting up, you are not listening.

Here is more on what listening is, as I have discovered:

Listening is when, a man says:

“I don’t think you respect me!” “I don’t feel like you care about me!” or “You never appreciate what I do!”

That you HEAR HIM. Not his words. HIM.

And instead of saying: “GOSH! I DO RESPECT YOU??! What more do you want!” or “What! How can you say I don’t care about you?! Where did you get that idea from!?” or “WHAT?? Even after everything I have done for you, you think I don’t CARE?!”

Listening is when – you say from a genuine place….”yeah, I know. I know.”  with genuine compassion. (By the way, compassion isn’t felt by other people in your words. Compassion is felt when you are compassionate.)

Another example of listening….When he’s intense and curt or acting like a boy and you say “Gosh that’s an awful way to feel. Especially about the person who is supposed to care the most about you!” Or “I’m so sorry that you feel that way. That must feel awful.”

Or “that must be really frustrating.”

If you can say these things…you are suddenly on a man’s side. He will go “Ah. Finally. A woman of value. A woman who GETS me.”

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Believe it or not, I’ve found that most women are far better at talking than they are at listening to men. ESPECIALLY to a man where women have the most fear, and also the most criticisms of men. We just THINK we’re listening, when in fact, he doesn’t feel listened to. (read my article on how to talk to a man)

Here’s a measure I use on myself to see if I’m actually listening:

If you are justifying to him how mush you ARE listening, you aren’t listening. Because if you’re listening, you don’t even notice the need to justify or calculate it.


If at any moment, the words coming out of your mouth are defending YOUR intentions, or your actions, or your position, you are sure as hell not listening and a man sure as hell doesn’t feel listened to.

Here’s what I learned from starting off as a really, really bad listener: If you have to defend yourself and say “I am not like that” when he tells you how he feels about you or something you did, you’ve created a battle between you both. You’re under the illusion that he wants to fight you. When, he doesn’t. Nobody ever really wants to fight you. A man is either calling out to you, or giving you a loving communication.

What I taught myself over the years is that unqualified, unconditional listening means listening, even when that person is blaming you. Even when he seems angry at you.

I’d like to think I’ve been 100% successful at listening yet, but I don’t think I can say that’s true. It is something I strive to do, though. And it is important to me.

Listening is simply something you do because you love to give, and listening is something you do with your BODY, your heart, and most of all, your unconditional compassion. Not because the other person will give you something you want for appearing to listen to them.

Take some time to register to watch our Commitment Masterclass. Click here for the registration page.

By the way, I’ve just published my brand new DVD titled “Becoming His One & Only!”… and right now it’s FREE for you to get a copy. Click HERE to find out more details and how you can get your man to fall deeper in love with you and beg you to be his one and only.


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April Walker Raymond
April Walker Raymond

Ok, ,so how do I stop this? My boyfriend and I just had this same exact argument and I did the same things you mentioned including reminding him of how I’ve Worked hard to pitch in and when we got together put his name on my bank account where at the time I had almost $ 6000 in direct contrast to his greedy money hungry ex. we made up later and this is an otherwise good relationship or so I thought untill now, we’ve had arguments where he’s told me this before and I love him with all my heart,… Read more »


An old friend taught me something I’ll never forget. She told me, “Every feeling is valid.” I belive that’s very true and one of the ways in which we can show more compassionate. It may not be real to us, but it is to them. We should respect that.

Donna S
Donna S

Wonderful article, Renee, and so wonderfully timed too! Well, almost. All I can think after reading this is … damn, why couldn’t this article have come yesterday? In any case, this article will certainly be put to use in the future. As of late, things haven’t been going too well with my and my guy. He’s going through some stuff and I guess there were things I did say that didn’t help. But instead of listening, I got defensive. I used the ‘yeah, well you do the same thing’ argument. That does NOT make me a smart person; it makes… Read more »


Another awesome article. I have a question though. What does it mean when a man says, “I just need you to be there for me. I need your support?”. Well, I thought by supporting him was listening to his personal problems with his family and work is support? And I really thought that whenever he needs to talk about something , just keep silent and feel sorry for him when he’s finished talking?


I have been reading your emails with great interest and enjoying the fact that, although you have the odd link to other stuff, your own emails have information in them that helps…not a teaser, not a line-up to someone elses book etc, but real stuff that is useful right there and then. Spookily enough, one email came through the other day and I put it into effect, along with the other bits of advice. I have been writing my own article on The Assumption Principle (Copyright MOI!) and this chimed in exactly with what I was experiencing. I have just… Read more »


i must declare! we all need an inspiring moment (such as reading this wonderful blog as i did this morning) to keep our mind in tune with our man. I realized how selfish i must seem to be. Although i have believed i was ‘compassioning’ when he spoke….. I was not. Thank you for the needed enlightenment. And thank you for keeping the women like me… ‘feminine’ its crucial to be ladylike

Kira Occido
Kira Occido

Oh gosh, that’s hard to do! I hate being blamed for things, it’s so easy to get defensive about it. But, I think this article has given me the answer to something I’ve been dealing with recently. I have a rather emotional man of late who has been telling me that I don’t really care about him and that I don’t listen to him. I usually say “I do!……..” and it just continues on, “No you don’t!……… as if we were kindergarteners saying “yeah huh.” “na uh.” “yeah huh.” “na uh.” And it’s emotionally draining for the both of us.


The thing you have to remember is that a person’s feelings are always genuine to THEM. You can’t talk or argue a person out of feeling unappreciated or whatever feeling they’re feeling. You have to understand it from their perspective because those feelings are REAL to them.


That is SO true!! First of all, beautifully written article as usual 😀 😀 Second of all, I have learned about this the HARD way.. I was actually on the other side of the conversation where the other person was quiet but DID NOT LISTEN , and it was truly painful 🙁 and that was when I really learned the difference between listening and not talking. And you describe it so well because ironically when I finally said to that person: “You are NOT listening! you don’t love me anymore” their response was ” I AM listening.. how can u… Read more »

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