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Examples of Not Listening" Phrases:
· You aren’t listening.
· You aren’t listening to me, are you?
Explanation: Why Is This A Poor Way Of Expressing Your Concern
While this phrase isn’t the absolute worst thing to say to someone, the fact that it is used so often, and in so many situations, warrants placing it on our ten worst phrases list.
We all want to feel listened to, and heard, particularly by the people who are important to us. It’s not surprising that this phrase, is so common, since we live in a talk culture, rather than a listen culture.
You should remember that it’s a rare person that intentionally tries NOT to listen to you. People forget, have lapses in attention, and become preoccupied, often for reasons that have nothing to do with you. People don’t listen carefully to everything. It’s just a part of being human.
That said, is saying “You aren’t listening”, likely to make them listen? It might. Not likely, but it might help IF they are preoccupied and don’t realize their attention has drifted.
What’s more likely is the person becomes defensive and feels under attack, because beginning a phrase with YOU, IS usually an accusation. It might be true. It might not be true, but you’ve stated it as a fact, rather than an opinion. It starts an argument about whether the person is or isn’t listening, and as is the case with many of the imperfect phrases in this book, that’s not going to get either of you what you want.
Make It Better:
Here are some much better ways to express your feelings of not being heard (or listened to):
· I could be wrong but you seem distracted. Is this a bad time to talk about…?
· I’m feeling like I’m not getting across what I’m trying to say. Am I not being clear?
· I’d really like your full attention when we talk about our debts. It’s important, and I need to hear from you what you think.