Connection Heals Wounds: Feeling Listened to Reduces Speakers’ Loneliness Following a Social Rejection Disclosure

Guy Itzchakov, Netta Weinstein, Dvori Saluk, Moty Amar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Memories of rejection contribute to feeling lonely. However, high-quality listening that conveys well-meaning attention and understanding when speakers discuss social rejection may help them to reconnect. Speakers may experience less loneliness because they feel close and connected (relatedness) to the listener and because listening supports self-congruent expression (autonomy). Five experiments (total N = 1,643) manipulated listening during visualized (Studies 1, 4, 5) and actual (Studies 2, 3) conversations. We used different methods (video vignettes; in-person; computer-mediated; recall; written scenarios) to compare high-quality with regular (all studies) and poor (Study 1) listening. Findings across studies showed that high-quality listening reduced speakers’ state loneliness after they shared past experiences of social rejection. Parallel mediation analyses indicated that both feeling related to the listener and autonomy satisfaction (particularly its self-congruence component; Study 5) mediated the effect of listening on loneliness. These results provide novel insights into the hitherto unexplored effect of listening on state loneliness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1294
Number of pages22
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


  • belongingness
  • conversations
  • interpersonal listening
  • loneliness
  • social influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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