We prefer speaking over listening because we would rather persuade than be persuaded. Being open to listening means embracing the possibility of being persuaded. And this represents a subtle threat to our own worldview.

Any time we come across information that conflicts with our worldview, our instinct is to push it away. As a result, we would much rather speak and reinforce our worldview, then listen and create the potential for it to change.

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In one study, researchers asked participants to complete one of two tasks; one was simple, the other difficult. After the participants finished the tasks, the researchers accused them of doing it incorrectly. The study showed participants who were falsely accused reported higher feelings of anger than those who were rightly accused.

These studies show how most people are not able to detect a lie. Anger is often a sign of innocence.

  • Self-expression - the sharing of key aspects of who you are as a person. Most of us are hungry for an opportunity to share what we're thinking and explore things that matter to us. Sharing them with an interested listener who validates those thoughts make us feel understood.
  • It enables us to understand ourselves better.
  • A sense of connection. Meaningful conversations make us feel connected to other people.

With dating, there is an assumption that you are on the back foot, and the other person holds all the power.

  • Pay attention to what people talk about. If your date is sharing negative information, it could be a sign they're not ready for a relationship.
  • Try to focus on if you like them, instead of if they like you.
  • Don't fear silent moments. Instead, see how the other person reacts. Does your date help you out and respond positively, or not?
  • When you're on a date, you're both gathering information to work out whether you'll fit well together.

Every personality has an if ... then profile: a pattern of responding to a particular scenario in a specific way. A dominant manager becomes submissive when interacting with a superior. A procrastinator gets their act together when the deadline is coming up.

It is then also possible to use this to encourage a know-it-all to recognise when there's something to learn or change.

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