It is a common annoyance among women.
You tell him something important but everything you say seems to go in one ear and out the other.
He doesn’t listen to what you say…
He doesn’t even make time to listen to you…
He doesn’t seem to understand you…
And in addition…
he regularly forgets things you have said to him (sometimes several times).
If you’re also green and yellow annoyed by men who don’t listen, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article you will learn Reasons Why Men Don’t Listen:
- About 14 surprising reasons why men sometimes don’t listen
- What to do when a man doesn’t listen
- Why men and women listen in a completely different way
- Why men are like turtles and women are like spider monkeys
- And much more…
Imagine having a day when everything (and really EVERYTHING) seems to be against it…
You slept through your alarm clock, making you an hour late for work.
You were also ‘lucky’ that it was pouring rain, so you started your work soaking wet while in the meantime you could hear the nagging of your client or boss about “how bad you were late”.
During your working day you notice that people always start to giggle when you walk by…
When you stand in the toilet in front of the mirror you finally find out why your colleagues had so much fun:
all the rush of your morning left you with just a minute to do your makeup, leaving you looking something like this:
However, don’t let yourself get discouraged so quickly.
You go back to work in good spirits.
But as soon as you sit down…
rip your tights.
That could also be added.
By now you are pretty much done with the day, but the day is far from done with you.
You get a call from your best friend who is furious that you missed your lunch date.
You’re done with it.
As soon as your working day is over, you can’t wait to plop down on the couch with your friend…
When you arrive at the station, you see that your train has just stopped working, which means that your return home is delayed by an hour.
Daniel Powter can you put on repeat today:
Night has fallen…
You have finally arrived home. Your friend is sitting on the couch watching TV.
You MUST tell him about the bad day you’ve had, just to vent.
After all, it’s your friend, so he’ll probably want to make some time for you and show you understanding.
The opposite turns out to be true.
You make a desperate attempt to make contact with him, but his attention is one hundred percent on the football game.
Surely a good friend or partner would make time for you?
Doesn’t someone who loves you take the time to listen to you?
Nevertheless, every time you want to strike up an important conversation with your man, it seems like you’re talking to a wall.
Desperately you wonder:
“Why don’t men listen?”
You’re not the only one.
As I mentioned, the inability of men to listen well to women is a common annoyance.
Vivian recently emailed us this:
“Men really never listen. They seem to be much more preoccupied with each other, the sports game or their car.”
While Vivian’s complaint is understandable, it’s not entirely true…
Men do listen in some cases, but because they listen differently than women, there is a lot of miscommunication between the sexes. Which in the long run can lead to serious relationship problems…
To help you become more aware of how men listen, today I’m going to give you 14 striking reasons why men don’t listen.
But of course it doesn’t stop there.
For some reasons, I give a practical tip that you can apply immediately to ensure that your husband or boyfriend does listen to you.
pay close attention today.
Time to prick up your ears…
And listen carefully to what I am going to tell you today.
Are you all ears?
Let’s start with the first reason why men don’t listen.
Reason 1: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus
Imagine that you are dealing with a problem that you would like to talk about.
When you sit down with your friend to discuss this problem, it seems that he is not on this planet at all.
His mind always seems to wander and he interrupts you regularly with a potential solution to your problem.
All well-intentioned, of course…
but he won’t let you finish.
he does not listen in this case.
A major reason why it sometimes seems like men aren’t listening is because men are from a different planet than women.
In the famous book “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”, written by John Gray, Gray describes this important difference as follows:
“On Mars, where men come from, we don’t talk about problems. We’ll solve them right away. On Venus, however, when someone has a problem, they listen to each other so that they can vent.”
Men listen in a solution-oriented way.
While you talk he tries to find a solution to your problem
So he does listen to you, but in a different (read: male) way.
While you talk about a particular problem he thinks:
“Hmm okay, how can I fix this for her?”
So his way of listening is well-intentioned, but it has the unwanted effect of making it seem like he’s not listening to you.
Take, for example, the bad luck day story you read in the introduction.
When you tell this story to a man, he will most likely answer this:
“Hmm yes, you should have set your alarm a little earlier and made more time for your make-up. Moreover, I always check the journey planner on my phone before I go to the station, because otherwise you will find out at the last minute that your train is not running. You could have done that too.”
Even though I am a man myself, I completely understand that it is bloody irritating when someone gives such an answer to your story…
He only comes up with possible solutions (which don’t help you afterwards) but he doesn’t listen to you…
so it seems.
What you need to understand is this:
men listen solution-oriented, women listen empathically.
As irritating as it is that he immediately comes up with solutions when you say something… don’t blame him too much.
It’s in his masculine nature that he likes to work things out for you.
What you can do is reward him every time he listens to you well.
For example, say this:
“I love it when you listen to me so well. Sometimes I don’t need solutions at all, I just want to talk about my feelings. How nice that I can do that with you.”
Men like rewards.
Moreover, in this way you make clear in a friendly and positive way how important it is that he listens to you…
That still works much better than getting mad because he’s not listening.
Reason 2: He’s afraid of the soap opera effect
Research shows that women generally watch soap operas more than men.
You probably already knew this.
Still, it is interesting to consider why women generally watch soap operas more than men.
The answer here also lies in the difference between the male brain and the female brain.
The male brain often works rationally , while the female brain is very emotional .
In other words:
women want to feel a roller coaster of emotions, but men find this roller coaster way too scary.
many women like to lose themselves in a soap opera for a while. It’s nice to feel the drama of the series.
In one scene you may laugh out loud at the jokes being made, while in the other you feel genuinely moved and sometimes even cry along with the characters from the series.
I call this strong alternation of emotions the ‘soap series effect’.
This alternation of positive and negative emotions makes a soap opera fascinating to watch (GTST is called GTS times, BAD times for a reason).
So there are more women watching soap operas than men…
The reason is simple:
men often don’t handle drama well.
Everything that has to do with sadness, emotion or crying is labeled as ‘bad’ by many men.
(Of course this is not the case with all men)
It’s one of the reasons men don’t seem to listen to emotional stories.
When you want to talk about your emotions , he thinks the following:
“Oh no, she seems sad. I’m not doing well right now. I have to make her happy now.”
Men are afraid that they are doing something wrong if the conversation is about something ‘negative’ (e.g. an argument you had with your girlfriend or a bad day at work)…
In such a case, men want to get the conversation back on the ‘positive track’ as quickly as possible, making it seem as if they are not listening to you.
It is important that you are aware of the fact that men do not like the soap opera effect.
Despite that, you can also make it clear to him here how important it is for you if you can talk about your emotions for a while, and actually reward him (with a compliment or a kiss) if he listens to you carefully.
However, it is important that you understand that a man can’t handle too much emotion sometimes…
You will learn more about this in the following reason.
Even men in love can suddenly become distant.
Reason 3: He’s just like a turtle
You now know that men don’t like the soap opera effect.
However, you can make sure that he wants to listen to you through empathy and reward .
men really can’t listen anymore.
Men cannot handle a fast, violent alternation of strong emotions.
the male brain is more rational, the female brain is more emotional.
This means that the male brain can handle a limited number of emotions in one day.
Once his ’emotion limit’ is reached, he has to retreat for a while, just like a tortoise also retreats into its shell.
This is very annoying for the female brain. The woman has the need to talk about her feelings for a while so that she can vent her heart…
But for the man it’s over for a while… he simply can’t handle any more emotions that day.
Understand that men need this ‘break’ every now and then
Sometimes he withdraws into his shell, precisely because he wants to help you.
You can read exactly how this works in the following reason why men don’t listen.
Reason 4: Men solve problems differently
It may seem irritating (or even a little weak) for men to retreat into their shells, but sometimes men have to do this to solve a problem.
As you now know, it is perfectly normal on the female planet Venus to talk about your problems, while the men on Mars want to solve problems directly.
You can see a good example of this in this clip from the cartoon Rick and Morty. In one of the episodes, Rick (a mad scientist) and his granddaughter find themselves on a planet inhabited only by women:
On this planet, the female beings greet each other with the following phrase:
“I’m here if you need to talk.”
That’s exactly how it is on Venus.
However, this is not to say that there is no talk of problems at all on Mars.
The men on Mars do talk about problems, but it should not last too long .
Men withdraw to think about a problem for a while
For example, suppose you and your boyfriend are having a heated conversation about doubts within the relationship.
After a while, he no longer seems to listen well and would prefer the conversation to stop (for a while).
This is not so much because the conversation leaves him cold, but more because he needs a moment to give his man brain the rest to put everything in order.
He has, as it were, to return to his male ‘accounting office’ to put things in order.
Once he’s done this, he’ll have the energy and thinking ability again to have a good conversation with you.
When you have a long (and difficult) conversation, it is therefore advisable to take the ‘pressure off the kettle’ every now and then.
That’s the best thing for both you and him for a while.
Reason 5: His focus is elsewhere
It is sometimes said that women are better at multitasking than men.
In general, this is also true, although there are exceptions in which men can multitask very well, as you can see in this (hilarious) video:
The reason why men sometimes find it difficult to do several things at once is because of the very strong focus of the male brain.
My mother once told me a story that the alarm clock at home broke and she asked my father to fix it.
No sooner said than done.
However, repairing that alarm clock turned out to be more difficult than it seemed at first glance.
My dad spent three hours trying to set that alarm clock again.
I repeat: three hours.
That repair job went on until the wee hours…
And all because of a stupid alarm clock!
Here’s what happened here:
My father’s male brain was full in focus mode
He eventually stopped listening to my mom altogether (who by now had made several desperate attempts to please get him to stop fixing that alarm clock).
My father had to make that alarm clock again.
In some cases, the male brain can be extremely focused on one thing.
- Finishing a project at work.
- Getting a promotion.
- Painting the new kitchen.
- Choosing a new television
- Win a game of football at all costs.
- Fix an alarm clock.
The focus in the male brain is necessary to be able to focus on one specific thing.
The male brain simply cannot have anything extra.
This makes it seem like he deliberately doesn’t want to listen to you, but it’s more about temporarily putting his focus on something else.
Over time (usually when a certain goal has been achieved) that focus is gone and he can focus completely on you again.
Likewise with my father: as soon as the alarm clock was repaired, he was all ears for my mother again.
So sometimes the reason men don’t listen has to do with timing.
I’ll give you a great example of this in the following reason why men don’t listen.
Reason 6: The playstation principle
The lady in question said that her boyfriend was very busy gaming and therefore did not always make time for her.
Fortunately, they had found a solution for this together:
Sunday became Playstation day.
On this day, my boyfriend could completely lose himself in the games he enjoyed playing so much, provided he wouldn’t play for more than an hour all other days of the week and make time for his girlfriend.
No sooner said than done.
Despite this, girlfriend made a big mistake one Sunday by burdening him with all the tasks he had to do.
Then she kept talking to him about “why the dishes weren’t done yet”, “why the garbage wasn’t out yet” and “why he isn’t listening”….
This woman became frustrated to the core because her boyfriend wouldn’t listen to her…
What’s wrong here?
The timing was wrong.
Wrong timing is a major reason men don’t listen
Certainly in this example, this woman had made clear agreements with her boyfriend about when he could play games.
When she did saddle him with tasks to do, she went against their promise.
It’s not so much that this guy definitely doesn’t want to do the tasks. He just doesn’t want to listen at that moment, because that was his agreed moment to play PlayStation.
So when your husband or friend takes some time for himself behind the TV, PlayStation or newspaper, it is not recommended to start a (difficult) long conversation with him.
“But Laurens, he has to listen to me now and then, right?”
Only the timing you choose is crucial. Remember the previous reason: men have a strong focus and can’t do many things at once like women can.
When he is busy you can say this:
“Honey, I don’t want to disturb you at all, but do you have a moment for me? Let me know when you have the time okay?”
Because you respect his own time and give him the choice to make time for you, he’s much more likely to come back to you later. He can then focus 100 percent on you and will therefore listen to you.
The communication between the man and the woman is extremely important.
Reason 7: The subject doesn’t interest him
Do not get me wrong.
You really shouldn’t have to talk about cars, football and other clichéd masculine topics from now on to make sure he listens.
But what you need to understand is this:
Men are really interested in you but they have a short attention span
A man would like to listen to stories about your shopping day, your girlfriends or the previous episode of Gossip Girl.
But there are limits.
At some point we give up.
“But Laurens, don’t you think that’s rude of men yourself?”
obviously it is social to show interest in someone.
But tell yourself…
if someone keeps on talking about a subject that simply doesn’t interest you, you will eventually give up, right?
In that regard, this reason applies to both men and women.
There are roughly two things you can do:
First, you could say this to him:
“Hey I want to tell you something but it’s a bit of a women’s topic. I’d like to tell you about it, but I’m only going to bother you with it for five minutes.”
By saying this, you firstly show understanding that he is a man and therefore has other interests. Secondly, you give a so -called time frame that clearly indicates that it will not take long (in this case only five minutes) so that he can adjust to this.
The second thing you can do is delve into topics that are of interest to both of you.
Reason 8: He listens like a man
If there is anyone who can explain the communication differences between men and women in a funny way, it is Ronald Goedemondt:
Ronald Goedemondt explains the well-known difference between men who communicate rationally and women who often communicate emotionally.
However, this does not mean that men ALWAYS communicate rationally and women ALWAYS communicate emotionally.
The problem is that ’emotional communication’ is not common in the man’s world.
emotional communication is not done in the men’s world.
When men want to communicate about their feelings, it is soon dismissed by other men as ‘feminine’ or even ‘stubborn’.
The social hierarchy is extremely important for men (I’ll tell you more about this later).
When men lose prestige for being too “feminine” in their communication, it can hurt their male ego greatly.
This is exactly why some men sometimes giggle when a woman wants to talk to them seriously.
Some men try to avoid talking about their feelings with sarcasm and humor.
This is why pay is so important to men.
Every time he’s shown his feelings, listened to you, or had a conversation about your or his own emotions, show him how much you appreciate that.
The more appreciation he gets for expressing his feelings, the more often he will do this, because he will then dare to talk to you about his feelings and not be afraid to lose prestige.
The going first principle can help enormously with this.
With this principle, the point is that you are the first to tell about your feeling, so that he feels familiar enough to tell you about his feeling.
So be aware that sometimes men do not dare to listen, making it seem as if they are not listening…
Sometimes a little encouraging nudge works wonders.
You can use your feminine charms for that.
Reason 9: He can’t keep up with you
At reason #3, I told you that sometimes men are turtles.
I also have a nice animal metaphor for women.
Female are just agile spider monkeys when it comes to conversations.
They jump easily from one branch to another.
Can men do this too?
Not so much.
While the female spider monkey can quickly switch topics, the sluggish tortoise needs some time to process topics of conversation.
A big reason why men don’t listen is because the conversation sometimes moves too fast for them.
They simply cannot keep up with you.
The male brain needs a moment to absorb all the information from one topic before it can move on to the next topic.
So show your understanding for this and give him some time before moving on to another topic.
As soon as you do this you will see that men can (and want to) listen to you much better.
Reason 10: He’s afraid of criticism
At reason 8, I told you that men think the social hierarchy is very important.
This male importance to the social hierarchy is apparent from research by Deborah Tannen.
Where women find the connection aspect of conversations important, men are mainly concerned with ‘ where they stand’ and ‘ status’ in the conversation.
A nice example:
Suppose you are in the car with your friend and he is visibly frustrated because he cannot find his way.
Of course you want to give him a good feeling by giving him a hand…
In the end, your well-intentioned move turns out to be completely counterproductive.
He gets even more frustrated because you’re trying to help him. You get mad at him because you meant well….
A fierce quarrel ensues.
This is where the obvious importance of the social hierarchy for men takes place. Because you tried to help him, he got a sense of incompetence .
He now thinks you are ‘better’ at navigating than he is.
This is something quintessentially masculine and a major cause of miscommunication in relationships.
Once a man is criticized, his place in the social hierarchy is damaged and he shuts down.
He doesn’t listen anymore.
So be very careful with direct criticism. Encourage him and don’t try to help him right away when he does something wrong.
The more respect you show him, the more he will feel valued by you and want to listen to you.
Aside from criticizing him, there’s another (much worse) reason why he doesn’t listen anymore.
Reason 11: You won’t let him finish
You know what really annoys…
You know what really verve….
You know what really makes me green and yellow…
You know what really drives everyone crazy…
Annoying huh? If you can’t finish your sentence?
It’s never fun when someone suddenly interrupts you during a conversation or discussion, so you can’t even finish your sentence.
When you don’t let a man finish, it’s like a red rag to a bull
He gets annoyed, he gets furious but above all…
he no longer listens to what you have to say.
Pretty logical when you think about it.
Because suppose someone interrupts you while you say something.
Do you still feel like talking?
many people are quite good at talking but not good at listening (both men and women).
One reason men don’t listen is because they sometimes feel like the woman they’re talking to isn’t listening either.
This works like a vicious circle and eventually leads to heated conversations in which no one lets each other finish. Let alone listening to each other.
So no matter how difficult it is sometimes, wait until he has finished his sentence.
Take a short break before you want to say something back.
Not only will this ultimately make him listen to you better, but you’ll also give yourself time to think about what you’re going to say to him.
And think before you say something…
is something many people can learn from.
(And believe me, I’m certainly not saintly at this).
Let’s move on to the next reason men don’t listen!
Reason 12: It’s taking too long
The first time I took my driving test I failed.
Annoying of course… but I really appreciated the way the examiner delivered the bad news.
As soon as we were done he said this:
“Laurens. You have failed.”
“Uhmm, but why did you appreciate him saying that? It doesn’t sound very nice.”
It wasn’t nice to hear.
It’s a typical bad news conversation tactic .
Once you have bad news for someone, you don’t want to beat around the bush. You want to be direct and concise, otherwise you will only make the message more annoying in the end.
I was pleased that the examiner was so to the point.
Men like to the point
Whether it’s about ‘bad news’, a certain question or a certain proposal… men want to hear it right away.
The problem for many women is that they wrap their heads around it and try to make their point gently; by taking some detours to eventually get to the point where they want to go.
Also here: well-intentioned but counterproductive.
With men, be short but sweet.
When you have something important to discuss, give him regular intervals to let him take a break (remember reason #4!).
The more direct you are, the better he listens to you.
NOTE: That doesn’t mean you want to be blunt. You still want to use the principles of engaging communication.
Reason 13: You continue after your point is made
As you learned in this article, social hierarchy is important to us male beings.
That’s why men don’t like to lose a discussion.
But sometimes (and sometimes very often) you’re just right.
Good for you.
But don’t rub it in too long.
Some women make the mistake of going on too long after a discussion.
You know that men want to withdraw after a long conversation, and this is especially the case when he finds out that he was wrong or wrong in the end (men can’t stand this).
The best thing to do in such a case is to show understanding for the way he thought, and then don’t continue with it.
This also applies if you give him certain tasks .
He had to take out the garbage.
He heard you.
He will too.
Of course you can point it out to him if the garbage is not out the next day.
But do this in an understanding way and don’t attack him.
And above all:
don’t go on too long.
For most men, asking once is enough (yes, really!) if you’re understanding and patient.
The more times you “repeat” in his ears, the less eager he is to listen to you.
Reason 14: You show him no respect
A man wants the best for you.
Your partner or friend wants to be appreciated by you , so that he feels that he can make you happy.
once the sense of appreciation is gone, he does n’t feel competent enough to make you happy.
And that frustrates him.
This is exactly why men don’t listen when they are slammed.
Their ego is hit by the lack of respect. No man likes this.
To protect himself he puts in his manly earplugs and doesn’t listen to you anymore
So respect his opinion or point of view at all times.
Sure you can disagree with him…but don’t tear him down.
You want to frame your wording in a way that encourages rather than denigrates it.
Let’s take the garbage bag example again.
Suppose he didn’t put the bag out. Then you should definitely not say this:
“Didn’t you take out the garbage again? I told you to do that. Why don’t you ever listen?”
What you want to say is this:
“I always like it when you take out the garbage. After all, you’re a lot stronger than me. I see the trash hasn’t been taken out yet, would you do that for me if you have time?”
In this way you reinforce his positive qualities and show your appreciation .
Not only will he listen to you better, but he will actually do what you say.
And that, dear reader, can of course never hurt .
Reason 15: You are too negative the main Reasons Why Men Don’t Listen
A male client of ours once told me a story of a woman he was dating.
He was really looking forward to the first date but as soon as she started talking he quickly dropped out…
The reason for this was because she started complaining from the very first moment.
She said she was tired all day. In addition, her laptop charger was stolen and she felt it necessary to talk about it for 45 minutes.
Obviously not fun if you feel tired and your charger is stolen…
But they are certainly not fun subjects.
People are negative towards negativity
I say “people” on purpose because both men and women don’t like people who are just negative.
As soon as someone is too negative, most people (including most men) shut down and stop listening.
So if you’re wondering why men don’t listen, you might want to check out what your conversations are about…
If you often come across as very negative, that can be a big reason why he doesn’t listen.
Fortunately, a little positivity works wonders.
That’s why I’m going to end this article on a positive note with you 😉.
I hope you enjoy it and see you in the next article.
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