Guys everywhere have heard girls complain that men just don't listen. Guys everywhere legitimately do try to listen to the women in their lives but "listening" means different things to guys than it does to girls (shocker.) Well mi amigos, I'm about to explain what your girl means she asks you to listen.
When a girl is talking about a problem in her life, you need to know that most of the time the problem she's focused on and concerned about isn't actually the problem she is talking about. The actual problem is her feelings about the problem. Most guys are very solution focused and when their girl starts talking about a problem in her life they are genuinely trying to help her when they offer her a solution to the problem she's talking about. But what guys need to focus on isn't the solution to the problem, they first need to focus on their woman's feelings about the problem.
Most guys have found that when they are listening to their girl talk about something that's upsetting her and they offer her a plan to fix the relationship or difficulty that is bothering her, she gets upset with him and tells him that he isn't listening. The guy is listening to the best of his ability! He's offering her a perfectly good solution to her problem! And she has the audacity to tell him that he isn't listening?!
Well guys, it's because you're listening to and fixing the wrong problem.
The actual problem is her feelings about the problem.
(This may shock you, but) girls process information very differently than guys do. Women's emotions are tied to their problems and women cannot separate their emotions from their thinking. Thanks to the way our brains are wired, most women physically cannot separate their emotions from their thinking until the emotions are processed. Women's emotions bombard brain functioning until those emotions are worked through. It's like there's a fog that's only cleared when the sun bursts through and melts the emotions away.
What this means is, once we've worked through our emotions we are then able to focus on solutions to other problems in our lives. When a girl asks you to listen to her talk about a problem she needs you to first focus on and work through her emotions about the problem, then she will be able to receive your solutions for the incident that caused her distress.
Another reason that it's important to address a girls emotions about a problem before addressing the problem is that girls are looking for connection. A lot of times girls share their problems (and their emotions about their problems) in order to strengthen the relationship with the person they're talking too. Expressing their thoughts and concerns about something that is bothering them with a person they care about really helps girls bond. The bond is strengthened even further when the person they're sharing with listens to her express her thoughts and concerns without interrupting, understands why that issue would concern her and supports and validates her feelings of concern.
Listening and providing emotional support will work wonders for a girl. When she feels safe trusting you with her thoughts and concerns because she knows that they matter to you, she will be much more willing to hear your opinions on what she should do to fix the problem that is distressing her.
To wrap it up, her emotions about the problem are the first problem to be worked through then the issue that is causing those negative emotions can start being resolved.