Listen beyond the words. Listen for emotion. There is a real distinction between merely hearing the words and really listening for the message. Sometimes, their words are not telling the whole story. But if you tune into the way they are talking, you can get a better sense of what is going on for them. Listen in for context.
The words someone uses to relay a story or situation are often quite telling. Is the story told from an angle of care and concern, from complaint, from excitement? Are they holding a grudge? Are they passionate? Do they acknowledge their role in the situation? Sometimes, you can really get a sense of their attitudes and how they see themselves in the world from the way they share their stories.
Also tune into the nonverbals. So much of a message is conveyed through pitch, tone, volume, speed. For example, when someone speaks quickly and more loudly it could mean that they are excited about the topic.