Over the years, I have learned that there is a big difference between hearing and listening. Our ears take care of the hearing part, and some hear better than others. But, that is the mechanics of hearing. Listening is the brain reconstructing what is heard and applying meaning. The authors of Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication identify two types of listening: mindless listening and mindful listening. Mindless listening is when we react automatically to what is heard. An example is replying “Fine” when asked “How are you doing?” Mindful listening, however, is actively listening, paying close attention to what is said, and providing carefully constructed responses. An example is when you become attentive when someone important to you speaks about something important to them. Learn more about mindful listening!