Why people are poor listeners ?

Let’s accept the harsh truth about human beings. If people were given a microphone, even an average speaker can talk for hours. Ask anyone to listen patiently to someone’s else’s problems for 15 minutes, they might feel out of place and just walk away.

We have all been in situations when you when you wanted to vent out to whoever was willing to listen, but couldn’t find anyone and hence blogged about it instead. Even if you found a noble soul, it only makes worse when the person is not really involved in the conversation. You then decide to head straight to the nearest pub instead.

There maybe many self-proclaimed ‘good listeners’ in this world, on the web and everywhere, but they would just listen to you if they have some self-interest in the conversation.

From the early days in childhood, students are judged purely for their written and oratory skills. None of us were trained to listen.

If a student raised concerns that s/he is finding it difficult to understand what they were taught in school, then the teacher wouldn’t listen and in most likelihood ask the student to leave the class or report to the parents.

Young kids are taught to respect people in authority i.e. teachers and parents. Hence, children grow up with the belief that their voices will never be heard unless they themselves assume a position of authority when they grow up either at work or at any level of superior position in society.

Also, humans are selfish and self-absorbed by nature. Most people think they are the center of the universe and the world revolves around them. Hence, we listen only so that the others listen to our rant in return.

I hate to mention, but sometimes, it could be your own fault if the conversation with your friends, partner or co-workers is only about you. People tend to avoid such self-absorbed people. It is best to have a balance in conversation – give and take. Give more and take less.

Also, no matter how difficult position you are in, you got to remember the only person who can solve your problem is you. You can then have a conversation with people to let them know how you solved your problem and spread positive vibes. People will like your attitude and likely to approach you to solve their problem and listen to you when you need them.

In workplaces, a key area where most managers and leaders fail miserably is by not listening to their staff.

For any manager to succeed, s/he must learn to listen and that is the toughest part of the job. As a manager, you often get to hear bad news. Yelling and shooting the messenger will yield nothing except ruined relationships and poor morale.

Vast majority of managers are not trained to listen and hence they annoy their subordinates who leave the organization. Listening is the most important skill to be a great leader.

Listening requires a lot of patience, compassion and hard work. One must place themselves in someone else’s shoes, think before they respond and then react.

If you wish to be a good listener, then join forums, groups and just read up on the challenges people irrespective of race, gender or social status face in life and how members respond to other’s concerns. You don’t have to resolve anyone’s issues. Just read other’s stories.

If someone you love is suffering from depression, read up forums and get to understand from others who are going through the same experience. People who have opened up about their experience will give a better insight of what your loved one is going through and how they wish to be treated. Bear in mind, expressing how one feels about depression also requires skill which your loved one might not have.


It is also important to read up your opposite gender’s stories too. Men can read up on how women feel about their life’s challenges and vice versa. Human race is still stuck in a situation where both men and women don’t seem to understand each other. When people read other’s experience, they will discover that there is really not much difference between men and women. Both talk but do not listen to each other.

Listening is tough and is more than just hearing some sound. You’ve got to be compassionate to be a good listener, add to the conversation, get to know the person in depth and then recommend a solution and also follow up.

You can become a good listener only when you open up yourself to the world and get involved in others life’s battles and get to know them as humans and someday you will be rewarded for sure.

Karma repays you back for your good deeds someday.


2 thoughts on “Why people are poor listeners ?

  1. Absolutely agree, Sudhir ji. In life you get what you give. If you expect someone to be compassionate and listen to you, then you should also be willing to do the same in return. Helping people should also make you feel good too.


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