Implications of not Listening in Interpersonal Relationships

Many people suffer diverse implications for not listening in interpersonal relationships. In order to not suffer such implications, the attitude listening therefore becomes imperative.

This article highlights some effects of not listening, and how it affects relationships of various kinds across the globe.

The Concept and Characteristics of Listening

Listening is defined as an action that is performed with caution and attention to sounds. It is the skill or ability to perceive spoken language without divided attention. Listening is an essential part of interpersonal relationships because it allows individuals   to understand and connect with one another.

It involves paying attention to what the other person is saying, and being able to interpret and respond to their messages appropriately. Listening promotes understanding and shows respect to the speaker. A good listener is able to pass sound judgment on what is being said by the speaker.

Listening requires giving full attention, refraining from judgment, responding positively and being aware of one’s own inner response. It also begins with empathy, which is, putting oneself in the speaker’s place/situation.

Consequences of Not Listening

Not listening in an interpersonal relationship can have several negative consequences, including:


When a person does not listen to his or her partner, he/she may miss important cues or messages they are trying to communicate. This can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations that can create conflict and strain in the relationship.

Lack of Trust

Not listening in an interpersonal relationships leads to lack of trust. When a person fails to listen and pay attention to his/her partner, the partner may feel unloved and not properly cared for, this can erode their trust and make them less likely to be open minded and honest.

Emotional Distance

Constantly ignoring one’s partner or failing to give the attention they need, might cause emotional distance. As adults in an interpersonal relationship, communication is important as it shows the emotions of each partner. Without communication it is unknown to a person what his/her partner is going through. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection, this can make it difficult to build a strong meaningful connection and may ultimately lead to the breakdown of the relationship.

Read Also: The Importance of Interpersonal Relationships


When one partner feels neglected or unimportant as a result of not being listened to, they may seek attention and validation outside of the relationship. As we all know, misery loves company, a depressed person who is not getting attention goes out of his/her way to find the next listening ear, This leads to infidelity and can ultimately destroy the relationship.

Missed Opportunities

When one doesn’t listen, they may miss important information or opportunities to connect to their partner. This leads to missed opportunities for intimacy, growth, and shared experiences. A partner who lacks listening skills will lose out on many information his/her partner is trying to pass. The essence of an interpersonal relationship is to impact positively into each other’s lives. Not listening may hinder the opportunity of impacting and being impacted.

Decreased Relationship Satisfaction

Research shows that attentiveness is a key factor in relationship satisfaction. When one partner is not attentive, the other partner may feel dissatisfied with the relationship, leading to a decline in relationship satisfaction.

Lack of attention, empathy can be very damaging to an interpersonal relationship. It is important to prioritize whatever is said and actively work towards maintaining a strong emotional connection with one’s partner.


If one person feels like they are always listening and never being heard, they may start to feel resentful and frustrated. This can damage the relationship and lead to negative feelings. Good communication must be two sided with both parties being fully attentive to what is being said to each other.

Inability to Resolve Problems

In a relationship that is void of effective listening by both partners problems solving becomes almost impossible. It can be difficult to resolve conflicts because one or both of the partners may not be open to hearing the other person’s perspective or suggestions for a solution.


In summary, an interpersonal relationship without effective listening can lead to misunderstandings, imbalance of power, resentment, lack of trust and inability to resolve conflicts and problems. It is important for both parties to contribute equally to the conversation and listen to each other’s perspectives and possible solutions. Effective listening aids empathy and when partners are empathetic with each other, they rarely have misunderstandings.

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