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13 eye-opening reasons why people don’t listen to you (that you can do something about)

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It can be awful to feel like you’re being ignored, or that your opinion is being disregarded.

You start believing your thoughts aren’t worthy. You wonder if people around you are actually interested in what you’re saying.

Chances are it’s not what you’re saying but how you’re saying it that makes people zone out.

We’ve got some great insight into what you may be doing wrong, and how to get it right…

1. You’re not listening to them.

Conversations are a two-way street—if you’re the only one talking, it becomes a monologue in front of an unwilling audience.

Nobody enjoys conversations with someone who only talks about themselves.

Maybe not listening to the other person is a long-standing habit of yours that puts people off chatting with you.

Or perhaps it’s something you do in a specific type of conversation that causes the other person to stop listening.

Either way, make sure your communication involves talking AND listening. Respond to what the other person is saying and they’ll be more likely to pay attention to you in turn.

2. You don’t really want to be heard.

If you get frustrated when people don’t seem to hear you, reflect on the way you present what you’re saying.

It could be that you’re shying away from projecting your opinion by speaking too quietly or covering your mouth.

Rather than tell yourself that people aren’t listening to you, consider whether you’re not great at communicating in some situations.

Practice makes progress. Try to force yourself into situations where you need to talk to other people and your confidence will soon grow.

And when you’re invested in what you’re saying, people will want to know why—and they’ll start listening!

Extra reading: How To Speak More Clearly, Stop Mumbling, And Be Heard The First Time

3. You’re not sure what you’re trying to say.

This often comes down to insecurities.

You might have the perfect speech rehearsed, but you freeze up when you try to deliver it. You then feel like you don’t know what you’re trying to say which makes things even harder for you.

The other explanation is that you feel like you must contribute something to a conversation, even if there’s nothing you really want to say. You want to speak and be heard almost for the sake of it.

Sadly, people begin to switch off if you don’t have conviction in what you are saying.

4. You’re not speaking clearly.

If you’re not sure what you’re trying to say, most people will bear with you for a few moments while you try to sort out your words.

Even if you’re rambling and being incoherent, you’ll get a short grace period where people will think “Oh, they’re nervous, let’s give them a chance.”

But eventually, their minds will begin to drift.

It may sound harsh, but reverse the situation—how much attention would you pay to someone who’s ranting and muttering about no clear subject?

5. What you’re saying is not relevant.

In some situations, we need information fast. We want to be told the thing we need to know and nothing else.

If your boss asks when a project will be finished, tell them. Keep it relevant. They’ll stop listening if you start talking about your weekend or your commute because it has no bearing on the deadline.

Be aware of what is required and deliver it. Save the chit-chat for your coffee break when it’s okay to talk about other things.

6. You’re repeating yourself.

People stop listening once they’ve heard the same thing a few times, especially if it’s in the same conversation.

Perhaps you lose track of who you’ve told what to which becomes a bit irritating if the same person hears the same ‘news’ over and over.

It doesn’t mean that people don’t want to hear what you have to say, it just means they don’t want to hear it several times.

If someone is zoning out, try to remember if you’ve already touched upon that point and re-engage them with a different topic.

7. They’re not in the right mindset.

There are some factors outside of your control that could be causing people not to listen to you.

Try to rationalize things and remind yourself that other people’s behavior often has nothing to do with you.

It may be that the person you’re talking to just isn’t in the mood. You probably feel that way sometimes, so try not to take it personally.

The person might be too caught up in their own mind to pay attention to what you’re saying.

Do your best to read their body language and end the conversation if you feel like it’s not the right time.

8. You’re not in the right mindset.

We give off more vibes than we realize, and other people can quickly tune in to our moods.

If people aren’t listening to you, it could be that you’re coming across as though you don’t want to talk.

If you’re giving off that kind of energy, people might feel like they shouldn’t engage in a conversation with you.

Reverse the situation—if someone seemed a bit ‘off,’ you might think it’s fairer to avoid talking to them than to push the conversation.

9. You’re leading into it badly.

The way you start a conversation influences whether someone listens to you.

This is down to your body language and tone as much as it’s about what you’re saying. If you start a sentence negatively, some people just won’t want to listen.

Similarly, if you’re being positive in a situation where everyone else is feeling down or upset, it might be not appropriate.

Talking about someone or something might be what you need to do, but make sure you’re framing it in the best way possible.

Going into a conversation and being instantly rude isn’t going to engage the person you’re talking to!

10. You’ve interrupted them.

We’re all guilty of interrupting others from time to time, and we all know how annoying it is when someone interrupts you mid-flow.

You may not even realize you’re doing it, but it may be that you interrupt other people so much that they no longer pay attention to what you’re saying.

If you often cut people off mid-sentence, they probably feel devalued and uninteresting. As such, they’re less likely to pay attention to what you’re saying and won’t place any value on it.

Extra reading: How To Stop Interrupting People: 9 No Nonsense Tips

11. You’re apologizing for no reason.

Saying sorry for no reason is mildly irritating.

If you’re reading this and feeling guilty, you can safely say that you do this! Don’t feel bad about it or yourself.

Realize, however, that by apologizing for talking, you’re devaluing yourself and what you have to say.

By saying sorry for having an opinion, people won’t much care what that opinion is. If it’s so bad that you need to apologize, what are they going to gain from listening?

Try to speak with confidence and start placing more value on your thoughts because they are important.

Extra reading: Don’t Apologize! Stop Saying Sorry So Much + What To Say Instead

12. You’re gossiping.

Gossiping is not the healthiest of behaviors, but sometimes you do need a little whinge about someone from work or your friend’s new boyfriend.

However, the time and place for this probably isn’t at work or in serious situations!

If it’s between family or close friends and there is a mutual understanding that you need to vent, carry on.

But if you don’t know someone well, starting a conversation about other people’s appearances or partners is inappropriate. You’ll quickly be labelled as a gossip and people will stop listening to you.

Extra reading: Don’t be a gossip! 7 tips to help you stop talking about others

13. You’re ill-informed.

We can all Google something quickly and spout off the first thing that pops up.

If you’re using it to show that you’re incredibly knowledgeable about something, however, you’re likely to get shown up very quickly.

Many of us will admit to checking facts mid-conversation to sound intelligent and socially aware. Make sure you’re doing this in the right situations though!

Getting into a deep, serious conversation with your boss about quantum physics when you can only recite the first line of a Wikipedia entry will make you look very silly, very quickly.

And while it’s interesting to participate in conversations, nobody really wants to hear someone bluffing their way through one.

Take a step back and remember that it’s okay not to know everything about everything.

People will pay you more attention, and respect you more, if you simply say “I don’t know much about that, actually. Tell me more?”


We understand that this list may seem like we’re putting a lot of emphasis on you and your behavior. And we are.

That’s not because you should take all the blame or feel guilty, but because, a lot of the time, you hold the power to change things.

That’s why we’ve focused on the ways that you can adjust your behavior in order to get a different response from those around you.

About The Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.