Why men don’t listen.
We’re all accustomed to the male grunt as he answers you when he’s not actually paying attention to you. Maybe he’s playing his Xbox, on his computer, working in the shed, or busy at the time. You’re trying to talk to him and he grunts back at you, “uh huh” when he’s really not paying that much attention to what you’re saying.
I know it, you probably know it, and my wife certainly knows it. In fact my wife hates it to her core. She tells me that she’d rather I didn’t answer her and then at least she’ll know to snap me out of my trance instead of thinking I’m paying attention. She’d rather I was present with her. One of the primary reasons why men don’t listen is because our focus is elsewhere.
But it doesn’t stop there — if you let us we can be terrible listeners.
There’s a core breakdown between the way men and women communicate between each other and it has a lot to do with listening.
A man will more often than not look at solutions to whatever his problems are, whereas a woman would rather she was heard. As far as I understand it my wife wants to talk about her problems and get empathy for them, that’s all. Whereas if I’m talking about my problems I’m looking for actionable solutions. This can cause a lot of misfire between us, and men and women in general.
Communication between men and women can be key to why men don’t listen
A bit of history about men – why men don’t listen
Back in the days when we were running around naked and living in caves; men were primarily wired to be the hunters. Whilst I don’t believe that’s statistically accurate for “all men,” as I expect some were nesters and gatherers, I would like to hazard a guess that a large proportion of us were wired to be hunters.
Because we were out hunting our prey, our focus had to be laser sharp in the sense that we would have to hone into far away animals. We would tune everything out so that we could focus on pouncing on them so that our community could have a hearty meal. I expect as we grew in technology we evolved to build spears with pointy ends — the process of “honing and tuning out” would be the same. You’ve probably experienced this first hand before, and it’s why men don’t listen because we’re deep in an activity. We can’t hear you.
If you observe us closely now you would notice that we could be looking for something for at least five minutes before we found it right in front of us. I’m not too sure what the technical term for it is, but it is because when we look around our surroundings we don’t see everything at the same time — we fixate our eyes on certain things, rather than see the bigger picture. The same can be said for our tuning out abilities. We’re not great multitaskers because of the honing and tuning out — our focus can be extreme; so rather than tackle everything at once we seem to fair better doing one thing at a time.
It can be super frustrating; especially if you’re trying to talk to us and we’re aware that you’re there but our focus is elsewhere.
If you want a man to listen to you then you have to make sure his focus is only on you. My wife tackles this by coming into wherever I am and making me listen to her.
Why men don’t listen? Focus, tuning out, and attention in the background.
Is it deeper than this though? Are you getting lost in translation?
Sometimes you can be wondering why men don’t listen, and getting really frustrated about it, but it can be that you both communicate the same meaning but are coming at it from different angles. It can sound to both of you like completely different things. I’ve seen this happen a lot with my wife and I; we’ve meant exactly the same thing but because we’ve communicated it to each other terribly then it’s sounded like we both wanted a different outcome.
It’s a biological fact that men and women speak different languages because of the wire-up of our brains. It can really seem like he isn’t listening to you, but are you translating his language? By that I mean are you listening to him?
Interestingly enough I’ve spoke to a lot of women over the years who are very frustrated at why men don’t listen, and are angry that their partner just doesn’t listen to them; but they are so extremely caught up in getting him to listen that they’ve forgotten to check in with what he’s saying. I say this to men too:
Sometimes we can all get wrapped up in the fact that the one’s we love aren’t taking any notice of what we say. I had the same problem with my wife once upon a time.
About three years into our Marriage her and I got ourselves into a deep depressive cycle. We had both been made redundant and more often than not I was left holding the lions share of the responsibility. I got so heated up about the entire situation that I forgot to do the most basic of things in a relationship,
Check in with her. Get her to tell me how she feels.
I eventually got back into work and the depression cleared. When I finally checked in with her a Tsunami of mind-fuckery boiled over onto my lap. It turned out it wasn’t just me that was suffering. It hurt to hear what she said, but alas, I adjusted, and we’re way past that now. Sometimes it’s not just women that are frustrated at why men don’t listen. It’s men too at their female counterparts!
But there are ways and means when it comes to getting him to listen to you. People are more likely to listen to what their partner has to say when they feel comfortable to do so. Providing that space for him will help — a relationship is two way remember! One of the hardest things I had to learn was that life didn’t revolve around me.
But remember — sometimes there’s not a solution
In theory my advice is golden. In practice it’s a bit more like take a hammer to it and see if it fits. Even psychologists will tell you that life is a bit more random than the theory suggests. So sometimes you will know a man that just refuses to listen no matter how hard you try. Sadly, there’s nothing you can do about that unless he works it out on his own. And then it’s up to you to decide what to do next.