Podcast 234: Try the SLANT Approach to Listen Better, and Dealing with a Sweetheart Who Doesn’t Show Enthusiastic Support

Try This at Home

Try the S.L.A.N.T. approach to listen and learn better. This classroom management strategy means you should:

  • Sit up 
  • Lean forward – ready to take notes, if appropriate
  • Ask and answer questions – this fosters engagement
  • Nod your head – displays understanding and indicates listening
  • Track the speaker – keep your eyes on the speaker

Contemporary research supports this connection between the way we sit and the way we think. It’s a Secret of Adulthood: Act the way you want to feel.

Happiness Hack

A listener suggested having a “Rate and Review Rendezvous” as a way to give recognition to great podcasts.

It’s easy to rate and review—once you know what to do! Here’s how for an iPhone. Android is very much the same.

Important note as you begin (this confused me for a long time): if you’re already subscribed, you still need to SEARCH for a podcast in the search box, in order to be able to rate and review.

  1. Open up the Podcasts App.
  2. Hit “Search” in the bottom right-hand corner.
  3. Make sure the “All Podcasts” option is highlighted in purple at the top.
  4. Type in “Happier.”
  5. Tap the podcast logo.
  6. Scroll down [this is confusing, this screen looks like it just lists all the episodes, but mid-way, the screen switches to other functions.]. About three-quarters down the page, you’ll see the stars to rate the show—we so appreciate it if you give us a rating.
  7. And you’ll also see a sample review. Right under that, in purple, you’ll find “Write a Review.”
  8. Tap it.
  9. Tap the stars to leave a rating, enter the title of your review (like a subject line), and write a review.
  10. Tap “Send.”

Listener Question

This is a tough question:

I’m a college student. My boyfriend is also a college student at a different university. I am an Upholder and tend to be a high achiever and go-getter. My boyfriend is either a Questioner or a Rebel (can’t decide, also can’t get him to take the test which is symptomatic of both tendencies), and tends to not be as high achieving, gets worse (but not bad) grades, etc.

My problem is that I want to share my joys and successes with him, such as acceptances to jobs or programs, awards, grades I’m proud of, etc., but I’m scared that it makes him jealous or breeds animosity. Sometimes he says things like “Wow, not fair” or “I wish I could do that,” but he doesn’t take actions to be more motivated or go after the same kinds of opportunities in his field.

He also sometimes doesn’t seem very excited for me at first, and it takes him a second to say “Congratulations.” I guess my question is two-pronged. First of all, how do I share achievements with him in a way that allows us to celebrate together instead of building a wall between us? Second, how do I encourage him to take on his own goals when he doesn’t seem to be able to do it himself (without trying to “fix” him of course)?

New York Times journalist Tara Parker-Pope wrote an interesting book called For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed, and in it, she outlines the four types of “responses” that researchers have found:

Say one person in a relationship got a promotion at work:

  • An active-constructive responder is enthusiastic: “That’s great, honey! I knew you could do it, you’ve been working so hard.”
  • A passive-constructive responder shows understated support—a warm smile and a simple “That’s good news.”
  • An active-destructive responder would say something that undermined or demeaned the event: “Does this mean you are going to be working even longer hours now? Are you sure you can handle it?”
  • A passive-destructive responder don’t say much, they’re not interested: “Oh, really? You won’t believe what happened to me on the drive home today!”

What’s surprising is how much higher a couple scored on intimacy and daily satisfaction when people were in the Active Constructive Group.

If you don’t know about the Four Tendencies, which she mentions, you can find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel by taking my free, quick quiz here. More than two million people have taken this quiz.

Elizabeth’s Demerit

Elizabeth bought a pair of shoes that was on sale (but still very expensive), even though she had serious reservations. She did manage to return them—last-minute gold star.

Gretchen’s Gold Star

On the TV show CBS This Morning, in the segment “Talk of the Table,” host Gayle King mentioned a hilarious Facebook post made by the police department in Braintree, Massachusetts, during the recent massive heatwave in the U.S. 


  1. Want to connect with other Happier podcast listeners? Download my free app, Better. Search your app store for “Better Gretchen Rubin” or visit betterapp.us to join the community for all things Gretchen Rubin. It’s free!
  2. Curious what I’ve been reading this summer? Looking for a good book recommendation? Follow me on Goodreads! You can also join the Happier Podcast book club group on Goodreads if you want a place to share your thoughts on our most recent book club pick or suggest what our next one should be.



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