“I think we need to go grocery shopping.”
“Did you do your homework?”
“What time is the appointment?”
“I’m bleeding out and I think I nicked an artery.”
Have I got your attention yet? No? Perhaps you’re what I like to call a selective listener. If you’re not one, perhaps you know one of these people. If you ask questions or state facts and don’t receive an answer it’s possible you’re interacting with a selective listener. This is someone who only hears what they want to hear. They may be listening only when it’s something they deem important to them. Or, they are busy doing something else like watching TV and simply don’t have the ability to focus on more than one thing at a time.
If you’re one of these people, you may not even know that you’re doing it. Do you find people asking you the same question over and over? Do you notice that sometimes people repeat the same statement to you multiple times but maybe you only hear the last time? This leaves the speaker confused and oftentimes mad. They feel this way because they are looking for attention from you and you are not giving them. They feel ignored and disregarded.
If you’re speaking to someone who has difficulty hearing, they’re going to get a pass. Think your parents or grandparents here. You wish they would get a hearing aid but inside you know that even if they do bite the bullet and admit to being old by breaking down and getting said hearing aid – the chances of them using it are pretty slim anyway. They’re going to say it’s uncomfortable or they can see it in their ear and someone may know they’re wearing it. This one is good too … they may realize they can actually hear everything and realize they would prefer to go back to ignoring everyone.
The point is, if you don’t need a hearing aid and you’re simply listening only to those things that are important to you, you’re being obnoxious. I know we’re all guilty of it at times. You just want to relax or you’ve had a long ass day and all you want to do is melt into the couch. Whatever the case may be, I get that way too at times. If you’re doing it all the time to everyone it’s possible you’re a narcissist. In a nutshell, narcissism is characterized by caring only about you and how things affect your life. If you’re not a narcissist, this behavior could be making you look like one.
So cut it out and start paying attention to those people around you. They are trying to get your attention for something that is important to them. Stop what you’re doing if just for a moment and give them the time of day. You’ll be the ear they might need for support or just the opinion they’re looking for on a particular decision. Watch and see how much of a difference it will make in your life and the lives of those around you when you turn off your selective listening and become all ears!