• MC

    Liked this one, resonates

  • Anonymous

    Boy do I get this. I had this happen just last night. If looks could kill my wife would be dead for not listening to my answer to HER question. I plan on sharing this post with her. BTW: Great advice.

    • Thank-you so much for the comments. I thought this was pertinent for the time. We are to busy to take time with and for each other.

  • Susan Cooper

    Thank-you so much for the comments. I thought this was pertinent for the time. We are to busy to take time with and for each other.

  • Dan Meyers

    Love it, I'm definitely guilty and a victim of this! Now that I think about it, some of my most respected mentors and friends are the best listeners I know… maybe that's not a coincidence.

    It's amazing the feeling you get when someone concentrates their full energy and listening on you. From what I've read, Bill Clinton is a master at this and can make you feel like the only person in the world, even if you're in a crowded room.

    This is definitely something I'll work on.

    • When anyone master the skill of really listening amazing things happen Dan. The challenge is, and has always been, to stay in the moment long enough to stay engaged with the one who is asking the question. 🙂

  • The Simple Dude

    My Lady Friend and I jokingly told each other in our first few months of dating that we couldn't get mad if on occasion we didn't hear or weren't paying attention to something the other said.

    I thought it was funny – because at that point we were still a new enough thing that we always DID listen. But now 3 years later it does happen to both of us and we remind each other of our pact – which usually makes us smile and forget the annoyance!

    Great idea for a post!

    Also… I loved the comment you left on my blog regarding my job. Your advice was detailed and helpful. I'm going to start looking to see what's out there. I feel like I am pretty marketable so we'll see what happens!


    • Hi SD, time has a way of doing that to us. Familiarity does bring some side-affects. I am happy to hear that you have found a great solution and it works. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    WOW!!! This really hit home for me right now. Thanks for sharing.

    • You are most welcome and good luck with your friend. 🙂

  • shirla6960

    I have to tell you I believe this happens more than imaginable. For a REALLY long time I automatically thought when my husband was "spilling his guts" after a long and tedious day, and within that context there were questions inferring a response, I would attempt a response…"OOPS"! It could and often did kick off some heated discussions. Solution: We both came to an understanding that there were times when all that was occurring was a need to vent. Before I respond I ask if he'd like feedback or he may start off the conversation stating he would or would not like feedback. I recognize it comes across a little crass, but at the end of the day…no hurt feelings or misunderstandings 🙂

    • Aw, venting is all part of it isn’t Shirla? Sometimes all someone needs is to be paid attention to, not response needed. 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    How do you know how my daily conversations with my husband tend to go?? :~)
    I find myself both a victim and a perpetrator to this. There are many times that he will ask me a question or tell me a story and I find myself thinking about everything else but what he is talking about. Am I a horrible listener? I don't think that is the case as much as since we are two different people, our minds work two different ways. Things that are important to him can some times seem boring to me. He is guilty of the same. I could be talking about something I really found interesting that happen today and then it happens. The blank stare and the head nodding.
    So I think the important thing to do is like you said. Stop, think, and before you open your mouth. Ask yourself? What do I want out of this conversation and what is the best way to get it.
    Oh yeah by the way…. Did you just hear anything I said… Haha

    • Hi Elizabeth, I heard everything you said… Ha, ha. I do exactly the same thing and I feel so guilty when I do. When I take the time to really listen it really is rewarding.. for both of us. 🙂

  • Claire Cappetta

    Haha! Too funny! My husband talks or sings all the time, really 24/7 unless he’s asleep and I love him dearly… but there are times when sadly my ears kinda… sorta… stop working : ) But I always get caught… sigh…

    • Yep I can see that Claire, it happens to all of us form time to time. 🙂

  • Hi Susan: As I am still working (part-time from home) and my husband is retired and has really slowed down, I have to make a conscious effort to slow myself down and be part of his life in a meaningful way. We do get so wrapped up in the demands of our day that if we don’t make a conscious effort to stop and be in the moment (as you have said) we are being really insulting to the other person. Thx for the post.

    • You are most welcome my friend. It’s not always easy for any of us to stop and smell the roses, but it’s so needed and so rewarding when we do Doreen. 🙂

  • Cheryl Therrien

    Yup. Been there done that. You make a very excellent point about thinking first whether or not you can actually be an attentive participant in the conversation. Sometimes silence is golden and all that is really needed. 🙂

    • I agree Cheryl. We are so busy filling in space we forget that offering silence until we’re ready to listen is an alternative. 🙂

  • Always good to have this reminder Susan! I find phone conversations the worst, on my behalf, for staying attentive.

    • Thanks so much Liz, I would agree. A drifting mind on a phone conversation is oh so common. 🙂

  • Just got through remembering previous business stories and researching (again) about listening for chapter 4 in my upcoming book. Turns out even introverts don’t really listen better. We listen MORE and that means more opportunities to listen better. Thanks Susan for reminder that our listening, or not, shows up everywhere.

    • You welcome Patricia, That is an interesting piece of information. I can’t wait to see you end product when it comes out. 🙂

  • Pat Ruppel

    Oh boy, Susan. You’ve really touched home here (don’t know if I want to admit this publicly) — only I’m your husband in this scenario. It’s not so much I’m inattentive but sometimes I get only bits and pieces of what was said in the discussion.

    I’m a work in progress. Conversations can get pretty frustrating at times especially for hubby. I know it hurts and I’m working on it. — Patience, please. 🙂

    • It happens to the best of us, doesn’t it? I think we all are ins some form or another Pat. After all we are human… LOL. 🙂

      • Pat Ruppel

        Thank you, Susan, for being kind. I appreciate it — no excuses from me. I guess that’s what it means to be human. We’re in constant change.

        • Aw, if we were all perfect it would a very dull world indeed. 🙂

  • I have to say I am not always the best listener. What I have learned when I ask a question is to look at his face and if his eyes are moving sideways it means he is thinking so I just wait.

    • Thanks is a great suggestion Susan. The hard part is to be paying attention to that as well. 🙂

  • What a wonderful video Susan! It does boil down to that we are not living in the present moment. Especially when having a hectic day, our minds are rambling.
    Finding a way to not be so self absorbed, is great. The most valuable thing we can give our loved ones is our time and full attention.
    Thanks for this great reminder.

    • Hi Donna, It never hurts to be reminded of something like this. That is true of me especially. Oh, and thanks a bunch for sharing this. 🙂

  • A few years back we had a little show down about hubby not listening when I am talking. Some how he got the picture and has said recently that he realized he did not listen and has been trying really hard to pay attention when I am talking. For the most part he does. He might actually even say wait a minute as I want to watch this first. I know we had a discussion with a neighbor and the neighbor got a hearing aide. There was a bit about no, hubby did not need one, he just needed to listen. Not sure when the total revelation took place but am so glad it did. But there are times when I know he is not listening so I will quit talking. There are times I know he heard me talking but wasn’t paying attention…or was he. Silence and he can answer or I annoyingly repeat…”I said, blah blah, etc.” Or I have just said something and he will comeback with well you could …. and I say, “I just said that!” What is so hard about not listening. Yes, I am guilty of it on occasion, but not to extreme.


    • It never hurt to bring the problem to the forefront Mary. My husband and I had the very thing occur and it made all the difference. We both still slip from time to time, but it has been so much better ever since. 🙂

  • Debra Yearwood

    I think listening is hard work, it isn’t a passive activity. You have to fully engage, body and mind or you won’t follow the other person’s train of thought. That’s not an excuse for not listening and if you ask a question you should make an effort to hear the answer, but for what looks like a such a simple thing, listening can be quite complex. 🙂

    • I agree Debra. I believe that listening is purposeful and a learned skill. Some have an innate ability to be good listeners but most of us need a of training. 🙂

  • Jeri Walker-Bickett

    Depending on our moods, hubby and I will often do comprehension checks and joke, “What did I just say?” Over the years, our tendency to tune each other out has become a source of amusement rather than a source of frustration. It’s probably typical though that I like to talk my husbands head off and tell him all about work (no matter how insignificant) and he rarely talks about his work. He understands I just need to unload to get things straight in my mind, and I’ve come to understand he really does like to leave work at work.

    • Hi Jeri, I love that you have found a way to make light of something like this. Some times it can be down right funny when my husband or I answer in a nonsensical way to a question. We both laugh then are engaged in really listening to each other after that. 🙂

  • Krystyna Lagowski

    Oh, boy – guilty! After a long hard day, I’ll often get a bad case of ADD. Maybe that’s why I’m single? It’s always the seemingly unimportant stories that can cause drifting. And often, they’re the really important ones. Like not being able to find your favourite socks or something. When you’ve had a crazy day, those things really matter. But both people have to speak up and say so – at least that’s what I think.

    • Hi Krystyna, I think we are all guilty of this at times. I agree, if we don’t speak up we have no one will know how we feel and what affect it has. 🙂

  • I think this happens to all of us. I have found a way for my husband to listen. I guess you have to be creative after years of marriage. He was really annoying me when we would go to dinner. He wouldn’t look at me and looked all over the restaurant. I can’t image whose eye contact he was looking for. I would tell him, it is rude when I am speaking and you are looking everywhere but at me. Of course, I would throw in the guilt. Do you think that I am that ugly you can’t look at me? That worked for about minute. Then I came up with an idea that has worked and now when we go out to dinner he does look at me. So I bought a funny mask and had it in my lap. I started talking and as usual he was looking around the room. I put on the mask and stopped talking. He then looked at me and said what are you doing? I was silent. At this point he couldn’t stop looking at me. I then took off the mask and said I rest my case. We do not have that problem now when we go out to dinner. I think sometimes shock treatment works as many of us are oblivious to what we are doing. Loved your story. It is so true.

    • I LOVE that idea Arleen. I may even try it when the time is right. I know that if that were me on the other side of the table, I would have been hard pressed not to have gotten the point and may have laughed out loud too. 🙂

  • It’s so interesting you should write about this topic, Susan. I just wrote a blog post for a client on being “in the moment.” That’s the phrase actor’s use when they are on stage. It’s being “mindful” of what you’re doing right then, with a total focus on your lines. It’s the same thing with listening and respecting that someone you care for is talking to you. Our minds tend to wander and the focus is on “me” instead of “you.” We all do it so maybe it’s part of the human condition!

    • Hi Jeannette, I believe you’re right; it is part of the human condition. That make it even harder because ti requires concentration and dedication to the skill of listening. 🙂

  • Melissa Reyes

    I love the graphics you used and the way you described an all too familiar scenario. Thank you!

    • Hey there Melissa, It’s so good to see you here. Thank you and you are so very welcome. 🙂

      • Melissa Reyes

        Hi Susan! It’s great to connect with you!

  • Mark Brody

    Great post! This translates so well to both personal and professional relationships. As you said, we shouldn’t throw stones, cause I know I am guilty of this….often… Never really thought how it might impact the other person.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Mark, I agree and thank you for that reminder. Walking on someone else’s shoes is helpful in this regard for sure. 🙂

  • Oh no! I’m definitely guilty of this, particularly as most of the time I’m thinking about my blog when it does happen.

    I’m aware of it some of the time but also do it subconsciously. I think I need to take a step back and do something about it!

    • I think we all are Tim. It take being present to really give listening to someone a chance. 🙂

  • Excellent post! In some ways dealing with the pretend listener had lead me to blogging. Now thousands of people are hearing me at least for a while. As for my immediate family, I’m trying much harder these days to really listen when they are telling me something they feel they want me to hear.

    • Hi Edward, Listening is hard when we have so many distraction, isn’t Edward? I am so glad it brought you to blogging. 🙂

  • Rebecca Thompson

    Wow, don’t we all do this and yet get mighty miffed when it happens to us.
    I have had to tell my husband on many occasions that I cant give my full attention. It is also hurtful, but much less than babbling on for ages to find that what you are saying is not important to the other.

    • LOL, that is so true Rebecca. To me it so much better when one or the other says they just don’t have to room to listen for the moment. 🙂

  • maxwell ivey

    Hello; this was a great post and something we all need to remember. as a blind person i have even more trouble with this as i can’t usually tell when people have stopped listening unless they leave the room and sometimes i still don’t know. i used to tell people that the reason i talked to my dog was i knew she wouldn’t walk away and as long as i keep scratching her i have her full attention. smile keep up the great work, max

    • Hi Max, I can just imagine how difficult that would be to discern for you. One thing about our pets is they always give us their full undivided attention when we are paying attention to them. We could learn a thing or two from them, don’t you think? 🙂

  • Niekka McDonald

    I have had to learn the lesson of listening over and over again. It wasn’t until I joined my parents group that it really hit home. I want to be a better all around listener and listening just to answer the question is not going to cut it. I learned how inconsiderate that it is. I had to really think about that and it has made a big difference in how and what I respond to.

    • Niekka, That is true. I call that half listening. It take really diligence to really pay attention to the whole person to get the essence of what they are trying to convey. 🙂

  • Jacqueline Gum

    This scenario is all too familiar for most of us. Listening is an art, a learned talent and I learned it early on in my career in sales. I think if we worked on it, all of us could be good listeners.The only excuse for not being in the moment is because you don’t want to be. But if one give’s it some thought, we’d realize that right here and right now is all we really do have.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more on all points Jacqueline. When we really want to be present, it is truly amazing what happens and what we hear and see. 🙂

  • Broadcasting Sunny

    This makes me think of “Wait, Wait don’t tell me” said over the weekend. “SAGAL: A new study from Texas Christian University found people suffer momentary memory loss when talking to beautiful people, right. The way it works is we uglies exaggerate to impress the pretties, and then later, we can’t remember what’s real and what’s made up.” So, of course, DH turned to me and said you’re so beautiful, that’s why I forgot. Perhaps, you hubby can use the same excuse 🙂

    • That is really interesting Joanne. I has to laugh… I could just see that happening. BTW: I love “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me”. Are you a regular listener?

  • HomeJobsbyMOM

    My husband does the pretend listening thing a lot. I can usually tell by the look on his face before I ask him if he heard what I said. It’s usually a lost type look that gives it away.

    • Oh, have I ever seen that look… LOL. It’s really a hard one to miss, isn’t it Krystle?

  • maxwell ivey

    Hello; that is so true about our pets. and yes we could learn a lot from them. Not only about giving undivided attention and unconditional love but also about enjoying the moment. thanks for the post, max

    • That is a very good point Max. Our pets live in the moment all their lives.