12 Most Obvious Clues that Nobody is Listening to You
There is not a single person who talks only because they like to talk. People who like to talk are in essence people who like to be listened to, people who like to be heard.
When we talk, we want to know that the person across from us cares about our opinions, thoughts and feelings. Listening is not enough, we want to be heard. Listening to someone means that we care enough to think about someone other than ourselves.
Sadly, these days, listening is becoming a lost art. People are busy and there’s no end to the distractions in our everyday lives. Listening is a skill that most, if not all of us need to improve on. Some people are natural born listeners, but most of us need to learn how to be a good listener and practice at it.
Sometimes, the best way to learn how to do something is to observe how others are messing up, see how you match up and what you can do to change. For listening, that would mean learning to pick out the signs that someone is not listening to you.
So, how can you tell if someone you are talking to is not really listening?
1. No eye contact
The best way to stay focused and not distracted by everything else that is going on is to look the person you are talking to in the eye. No eye contact means that chances are the person is already drifting off into other thoughts.
2. Outrageous statements are not challenged
If you suspect someone is not listening to you, try slipping in some kind of outrageous sentence without changing your tone of voice. In my house, the sentence used is Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck stopped by to play. If the person just “uh hum’s” me, I have proof they’re not listening to me at all.
3. No response
You ask a question or you’re done talking and there’s silence. No response. You wait and there is still no response. Hmmm… wonder what the other person is thinking about. It definitely isn’t about what you just said.
4. The same interjection
When you are listening by rote without really hearing or internalizing the conversation you use interjections to show that you are still listening. If someone keeps using the same yup or uh huh, especially if there is no contact probably means they are once again not listening.
5. No questions
When people are interested they ask questions because they are curious about what you are saying.
6. No paraphrasing
One good way to know that someone has heard what you said is that they paraphrase what you have said. This goes hand in hand with curiosity because when someone is interested in what is being talked about, they ask questions that paraphrase what they have just heard in order to make sure they understood what had been said.
7. They are doing something else
It’s hard to do something else and listen well. It’s not only about the lack of eye contact, it’s also because you are distracted. While emailing or texting or watching TV while talking are definite signs that there is no interest, something like washing dishes while the other person stands next to you might be okay.
8. Constant interruptions
When someone is listening to what you have to say they don’t interrupt you in mid sentence to tell you what they think or what’s on their mind. They hear you out. Many people mistakenly think listening means having a conversation. Sometimes it is, but only when the other person is done talking or asks you a question.
9. Inappropriate laugh
When someone isn’t listening to you they often have to guess what response is expected. Talking about how your boss is ready to fire you and having someone laugh is a giveaway that they were not really paying attention.
10. Facial expressions are inappropriate
Similar to the inappropriate laugh. An example is when you are talking about something sad and the person is smiling at you. (Usually through glazed eyes)
11. Easily distracted
If someone is easily distracted while talking to you and is constantly jumping up for this or that, or answering other people in the middle of your conversation, he is not listening.
12. There is snoring
There’s nothing worse than talking to someone and realizing that the person found your conversation so mind numbing that they fell asleep. It makes you feel even worse than when a phone conversation is disconnected and you realize you have been talking to yourself for the past five minutes. In this case, an accidental hangup can’t even take the blame.
No one likes to be ignored or humored. Everyone likes to be listened to because when someone listens to you it makes you feel that what you have to say is of importance and that the person cares about you.
So why are so many of us lousy listeners?
Featured image courtesy of M.H.G. (BAH) licensed via Creative Commons.