Defensive listening might include hearing a general phrase and personalising it. A defensive listener can assume that a friend is indirectly calling the defensive listener false when the friend adds, “I’m not a huge admirer of individuals who are fake.” Defensive listening frequently takes the form of personalising impersonal statements.

Sarcastic humour can be challenging for defensive listeners as well since they could believe that the speaker is insulting them despite the fun. While sarcasm can occasionally be used in this fashion, it’s not usually the case. Someone in the office can quip, “John can remain and work on Saturday since he doesn’t have anything else going on today.” The speaker’s cynicism may be due to the fact that John is a well-known busy person who has a family. A defensive listener, meanwhile, might not get the irony and start to defend the fact that he does have a busy weekend.

Strong worries and insecurities increase the likelihood of negative reactions when listening defensively. When asked to accomplish a chore, a spouse can respond, “I’ve got a few other things to do, and then I’ll get to that.” A defensive listener can see the delay as a lack of concern or desire to assist.

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