Have you ever felt that sometimes people do not listen to you? Do you ever just stop talking because no one seems to care, or maybe you keep trying to push what you want to say to make someone listen?
We all have an innate desire to be listened to, to be heard, to be validated. It’s part of who we are. When we don’t get that, we hurt.
Why do people sometimes not listen to us?
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The way you talk
Sometimes the way we talk can cause people to not want to listen. If we speak in a very monotonous tone or in an unexcited, unenthusiastic, boring way, it may keep people from wanting to listen to us.
If we are constantly looking at our feet and mumbling, that shows a lack of confidence and can also cause people to be less likely to listen. Or, if you always have a scowl on your face with arms crossed and a glare, people may not want to be around you. Your body language is important.
Or maybe you do not tell stories well. If you go on and on about a subject and go into minute details and overexplain things that aren’t important, that can push people away.
Be aware of how you talk. You can ask people how you come across. Ask trusted friends or family, and don’t get defensive if they say something you don’t like. You could also record yourself.
Pay attention to how others respond. If you see them giving you a “who farted look”, you are probably losing them. Slow down and start over if you need to.
If you give too much detail in your stories, practice. Practice with friends. Ask them to help you know what part is good and what can be left out. You can also record yourself.
Check your body language. Make sure you are coming across as approachable and not pushing people away.
You are talking with the wrong people
Sometimes it really is the other person who is the major part of the problem. Some people are just poor listeners themselves. Just because someone may be popular doesn’t mean they know how to listen to people.
Some are just rude and self-focused. They are only focused on themselves and on saying what they want to say.
Speak up. If it is someone you know well, you can talk to them about how you feel. Or if they interrupt you, say something like, “Excuse me” or “Hold on, I wasn’t done yet”.
If they keep interrupting or ignoring you, it may be time to exit the conversation and find someone who will participate in a conversation, not just dominate it.
You don’t take time to listen to others
Stephen Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said that we must first seek to understand before being understood.
One reason people may not listen to you is that you don’t listen to them. If you constantly are interrupting people or jumping in with your stories, people are likely not going to want to listen to you in return. If you don’t take the time to listen to their story or point of view, why would they take the time to listen to yours?
And likely, if you interrupt them, they are frustrated and think about how they didn’t get to finish talking instead of listening.
Also, when there are disagreements, we sometimes do the same. We want to jump in with our point of view without listening to theirs, or we get defensive and argue instead of listening.
Take the time to listen first. If you want people to listen to you, listen to them. Don’t interrupt them or jump in with your story. Wait till they are finished and ask questions about their story. Dig deeper.
In a disagreement, don’t get defensive and argue. Try to listen and really see the other person’s perspective through their eyes. Ask questions and paraphrase. Make sure you understand what they are saying, then ask them to share your point of view.
If you show that you have taken the time to listen and understand their story or viewpoint, they are much more likely to take the time to listen to yours.
You are untrustworthy or have a bad reputation
If you are a gossip or a person who can’t keep secrets, that is likely a good reason people may not want to talk to you. If they think that you can’t keep their secret or that you might talk about them behind their back, why would they want to share anything with you?
Stop being a gossip! It’s negative, it hurts people, and it’s a coward way out. Instead of talking to the person to verify or confronting the person who could actually fix the issue, you just talk about it to someone else who can do nothing about it. Or you share a rumor that you really don’t know if it’s true. All that does is hurt people, destroy morale in the workplace, hurts families, and destroy relationships. Just don’t do it.
And be a person people can trust. Tell the truth, even when it hurts. If someone shares something with you that they don’t want to be shared, don’t share it. It’s quite simple, actually.
Be a person people want to listen to
Most of the reasons people may not listen to you are because of you – so be a person that they want to listen to. Be a person who listens to themselves, who speaks well and tells interesting stories well, who talks with the right people, and who is trustworthy and has a good reputation.
Do these, and see how people will start listening to you.
What other habits have you seen that push people away or make them want to listen?