Listening is an important life skill, and an invaluable part of human connection. Despite this, any people are actually pretty based listeners, even when they don’t realise it. Here are some of the key signs that illustrate you or your partner are a bad listener:
Multitasking might seem like you are bossing it and being economical with your time but it is actually quite rude when you’re having a conversation with a friend, loved one or peer. This is something that could indicate that you have poor listening skills or do not care what the other person has to say, especially if it’s something you’re doing during an important conversation.
2. Continually interrupting
Another key sign that you, or your partner, are bad listeners is that you keep interrupting during the conversation. The desire to butt in and say something in response to points that might be made is entirely understandable, but this is also a sign that you or your partner might care about attention over communication.
3. Lack of eye contact
Eye contact is an essential part of human interaction, both verbal and non-verbal. It is powerful and prominent, and allows you to read emotions and connect with someone on a deep level, whether platonic or romantic. A lack of eye contact tends to show disinterest and illustrates that you are a bad listener.
4. Inappropriate responses
Giving inappropriate responses to things that are said during a conversation is a key indicator of someone who is a poor listener. You have to try to make sure you are engaged with what people are saying, and that the responses you are giving are calibrated to the conversation at hand.
5. Checking the time
We get that timekeeping is important, but this is also something that you need to watch when having a conversation. Continually looking at the clock or your watch and checking for the time when someone is talking to you is rude, and suggests that you are disinterested and disengaged with what they have to say.
6. Focusing on how you’re going to respond
Too many people are not actually paying attention during a conversation; they’re often just trying to focus on how they are going to respond. This is one of the biggest signs that you or your partner might be a bad listener, and this is something you should be calling out or working on in your own life.
7. Asking irrelevant questions
One of the biggest red flags that indicates a person is not listen to another person properly during a conversation is that they will ask irrelevant questions. If you or your partner find yourselves doing this during a conversation, it is a pretty good bet that you have not been listening effectively.
8. Ignoring non-verbal clues
Non-verbal clues are very evident, particularly if you find that a person is unhappy, distressed, or anxious. If this is something you are not picking up on, it could be that you are a bad listener. Learn to observe non-verbal clues and relate them to what is being said in order to become a more observant person.
9. Making assumptions
Making assumptions about things can lead to a lot of crossed wires, and makes you come across as insensitive and inattentive. You should not assume the details of a situation if you are not knowledgable of the situation first-hand. It’s something that you need to try to work on as much as possible if you want to have valuable conversations and maintain positive relationships.
10. Forgetting important details
Forgetting important details is something that can come across as rude but can also be quite serious, depending upon context. If your boss is trying to tell you something that really matters when it comes to carrying out your job role, forgetting important details can lead to a lot of problems.
11. Giving unsolicited advice
Too many people feel that they can insert their opinions and advice into the conversation, even when it hasn’t been asked for. Giving unsolicited advice is a huge red flag, particularly in a conversation where the other participant only wanted reassurance or sympathy. It shows you may not have been listening closely to what the person was trying to tell you.
12. Showing signs of boredom
If you have to hear the same complaints or issues from the same person over and over again it can become annoying and frustrating. But, one of the worst things you can do in this kind of situation is to show signs of boredom. This could be anything from yawning to tapping fingers, and many more verbal or non-verbal social cues.
13. Dominating conversations
If you are trying to dominate conversations all the time, and want to be the one leading and influencing the chat, this could be a sign that you are a bad listener. You need to be a person who appreciates what other people have to say, and give them a fair chance in the conversation between you.
14. Constant misinterpretation
One of the main things that you need to keep in mind that can indicate you are a bad listener and constant misinterpretation is one of the worst. You need to think about some of the key ideas or details in the conversation, which will allow you to improve the way you interpret and respond to what people are telling you, offering genuinely valuable comments.
15. Lack of empathy
Having empathy for another human being is one of the key things that marks you out as a caring and considerate person. A lack of empathy is generally the hallmark of a person who is a poor listener, as they cannot put themselves in another person’s shoes. And this is why it is so important to think about how to be empathetic, and demonstrate it.
16. Talking about yourself
We all like to talk about ourselves, and this is kind of a natural response to conversation if you’re trying to relate to another person. However, there are a lot of things that play a role in helping you to be more considerate of others. This is something that you need to keep in mind when you are trying to think about how to have a better, more valuable conversation.
17. Using clichés
To be fair, clichés exist for a reason, and there are a lot of ways in which they can make sense. However, it is also important to think about how they can impact the person you’re speaking to. The use of clichés can be a useful, but might also feel like you’re discrediting the person you speak to as you’re resorting to basic responses.
18. Waiting for a pause to start talking
In a lot of conversations, people might allow you to have a say but this doesn’t always been they are listening. In fact, in some cases, it is actually that they are simply waiting for you to pause so that they can start speaking about something they’re interested in. This is the sign of a bad listener, and is something you need to look out for in yourself or your partner..
19. Failure to recall recent information
Another key factor that showcases that you are not a great listener is a failure to be able to recall recent information. If someone has told you something recently, you should be able to remember it. If you can’t, it’s a fair response to assume you weren’t listening (or didn’t care!) in the first place.
20. Being defensive
Reacting in a defensive manner to something someone is telling you is not a good, or thoughtful, response response. This is something that you need to consider when it comes to improving the way you are able to have the right conversation – even if the subject matter is difficult. Make sure you are remain calm and considerate about things you discuss with others.
21. Responding with “it doesn’t matter”
You have to do the best you can to understand the other participants concerns in conversations, particularly if it’s an emotional issue. Making responses such as “it doesn’t matter” can make it feel like it demeans the struggles of the person you’re speaking to, and dismisses what they might be struggling with long-term.
22. Constantly fidgeting
Fidgeting is a sign of being disengaged from the conversation and it can also be a sign of boredom too. This is why it is so important for you to try to reduce the amount in which you are fidgeting, if you can help it, and try to think about how you can be more focused and engaged when in a conversation with someone.
23. Repeating the same questions
One of the key factors that could show that you are not a good listener is that you keep repeating the same questions. If you have already asked something, and the person has given you their answer, then it doesn’t bode well if you are asking the question again later own the line. Not only does it show that you weren’t listening to their response but, also, even to what you had to say!
24. Talking too loudly
Talking too loudly is also a sign that you may not have been listening correctly during the conversation, and focussing more on simply being heard. If you want to engage in the conversation and be more attentive to what people have to say, then you need to make sure you aren’t talking too loudly or over the top of people.
25. Playing down the importance of the topic
Downplaying the importance of the topic being discussed is another indicator that you might not be truly listening. This is why it is so important to remain respectful, and to listen if someone tells you that a particular topic or subject matter is important to them, or impacts them.
26. Losing track of key points
If you are in a conversation and you start to lose track of the key points that are being made, this is probably an indicator that you are perhaps a bad listener. Being attentive and listening carefully is a good way of being able to keep track of the key points of the conversation, and offer relevant responses.
27. Thinking about other things
It is natural to daydream, drift off, and think about other things from time to time but, if you or your partner are doing this mid-conversation, it’s a problem. This is a sign you guys might be bad listeners to each other or others, so this is something that you need to try to avoid, to help you remain as focused as possible.
28. Walking off in the middle of the conversation
Something else that is both exceptionally rude and shows you are not a good listener is walking off in the middle of a conversation. This is something that might happen due to reasons like needing to use the bathroom but it is always important to excuse yourself, rather than simply walking away.
29. Being ignorant of social cues
Being ignorant of social cues is one of the biggest things that can mark you out as a poor listener. This is why you need to make sure you focus on the best ways of being attuned to social cues, and trying to understand exactly what the person is trying to convey to you so that you can respond appropriately.
30. Not validating a person’s experiences
A personal experience of something is going to differ for everybody, and it is important to be sensitive to this fact. You have to understand that just because something went a particular way for you, that doesn’t mean this will the case for another person, so you need to be careful not to invalidate their experiences and impose your own view too strongly.
31. Not setting aside time for the conversation
You tend to listen best when you are fully invested in a conversation. The best way to achieve this is to set aside time to have the conversation, and keep it as your main focus. This means you have to take time out from your schedule to give the interaction the time, attention, and respect it deserves.
32. Being judgmental
One of the worst things you can do when trying to listen to a conversation is to be judgmental. Often, if someone is telling you something they are quite emotional about, it can mean that something has happened that you don’t agree with. Try to avoid being judgmental as much as possible and, even if you disagree, consider keeping those judgements to yourself.
33. Failing to apologize when you’re wrong
Being able to apologize when you are wrong is a key part of any relationship, whether it is romantic or platonic. Listening to what someone is saying might help you understand when you are wrong, and will also help you to determine what this means for you going forward, as well as learn how someone might be impacted by your failure to apologize.
34. Not considering the appropriateness of physical touch
Physical touch is a complex issue and you need to know whether it is appropriate, which is why listening is important. If a person tells you they need a hug or they are feeling concerned, these might be scenarios where physical touch, even mild, can really help them feel more at ease, and ignoring this is the sign of a poor listener.
35. Not asking open-ended questions
Asking questions is a good way of keeping the conversation flowing, but they should be open-ended. You don’t want to be in a position where the person is just giving you ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answers, as this is not going to help the flow of the conversation and might, in fact, make things worse.
36. Not making an effort to learn about a new topic
If you are in a conversation about a topic that you are not particularly knowledgable on, shutting down and not engaging is the sign of a bad listener. Instead, you need to be clear about engaging and trying to show interest in the new topic. Try to show a willingness to learn about what is important to others – you might even find a new interest as a result!
37. Trying to score points
One of the worst things you can do when it comes to having a conversation is to attempt to point score. This is actually a big indicator that you are not really listening to what is being said – and can be a common issue between couples. Instead, try to be more balanced with your conversation and take on board what others are saying, rather than trying to one up people.
38. Downplay someone’s achievements
Another sign that you or your partner are a bad listener is the need to downplay a person’s achievements. Now, this is something that can either happen intentionally or unintentionally, but it’s something that you need to try to avoid doing. Instead, try to be the most supportive version of yourself you can be.
39. Flat out ignoring someone who’s trying to speak to you
Something else that shows you are a bad listener is ignoring someone when they are trying to speak to you. This is also kind of childish and shows that you are not paying attention to what they have to say. Instead, try to pay attention to them, recognise their presence and listen to what they have to to say – even if you don’t necessarily want to.
40. Not respecting conversational boundaries
Something else that is the sign of a bad listener is not respecting conversational boundaries. Prying into someone’s personal life or asking inappropriate questions is not the done thing, and frquently indicates that you are not listening effectively during conversations, as well as lacking social skills.