When someone asks you if you're a good listener, what's your general impression of what their criteria are? I think there are definite styles of listening, and strikes me as a good idea to kind of try and put them all together.
Do they look for someone to sympathize/empathize?
Are they looking to improve their ideas? Critique?
Do they want honesty, or comfort?
Do they just need to vent, and don't want feedback? (side question: does this count as listening?)
Do they want to hear what they have to say through someone else's voice? (sounding board)
Are they looking for advice, or to give it?
Are they trying to teach, share and idea?
Given how many ways we can listen, I'm a bit surprised anyone is ever considered a good listener; it seems like there's a lot of chances to get it wrong. Perhaps it's best if we do the method we do to our best, or perhaps it's best to follow the social cues as we go along.
What's your thoughts?