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Listen to Me! Why Good Listeners Also Deserve to Be Heard

By Mary K Armstrong September 24, 2023 Mindset

Do you feel that you are always expected to be the good listener and to show an interest in others’ lives? And do you feel frustrated when others don’t listen to what you want to share?

A number of women have told me that those whom they had just listened to often turned downright rude when the speaker/listener role switched. They were interrupted when they started to share their own story or point of view.

Do you feel the same way? Being interrupted in a conversation appears to be a major problem for many older women.

What Can We Do to Get Listened to?

It is hurtful to give your time and listen lovingly to another and then be refused the same courtesy. That got me thinking of ways to get your needs met. So this is what I came up with. Can you imagine turning to the person you’ve just listened to and saying, “It feels good to be listened to, doesn’t it? Would you be willing to listen to me? I’d like you just to listen.”

Or perhaps you could say, “I would love to get your feedback on how I feel about something. It will help me if you keep me company while I think out loud.”

Maybe the others have never realized that you, too, need empathy and caring. Chances are, if you’re the one who always listens, they perceive you as having no troubling issues. Try out some variation of the above and let Sixty and Me readers know what happens.

In a Meeting or at Work

Have you had the experience of being in a meeting and offering your thoughts on the issue at hand? Expecting some acknowledgement, you realize that nobody was really listening to you? Worse, minutes later, someone else says the same thing and everyone thinks it’s a great idea.

If this is happening to you, think about the sound of your voice. I witness many intelligent, competent women sounding like children instead of grown women. That’s because their voices sound like little girls’. Perhaps, in their minds, they’re wanting not to appear bold. In reality, they give the impression they’re not to be taken seriously.

If you think this could be happening to you, practice taping your voice. Do you sound like someone who would have good ideas? Do you have a tone of authority when you speak?

Find a Listening Partner

Recognize the sad fact that most people have no idea how to listen effectively. Pair with a friend who would also like to be listened to and who is willing to learn a new way of listening. The two of you can practice. This way you’ll be training with someone who will listen to you.

It’s wonderful to have a listener into your life. Get together regularly in person, on Skype or on the phone. The following are some guidelines for your partnership.

Rules for the Listener

Set aside all your own concerns and all your knowledge about a particular subject. You want to be fully present for the person you’re listening to. Ask no questions and give no advice. Just help the person get clearer about their inner thoughts by listening closely and repeating back the essence of what they’ve just said. Don’t worry if you don’t get it just right. The person will correct you and get even clearer on his or her meaning. Say back what you hear now.

Rules for the Speaker

Take a minute to check inside and find what feels comfortable to talk about. Don’t worry about being polite or hurting the listener’s feelings. What matters is that you get heard. Don’t accept advice, questions, interpretations or judgments. Don’t let your listener rush in to “fix” it.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you good at listening to other people? Do you often feel that you are not being listened to in a conversation? Do you sometimes feel that your comments are not taken seriously? What do you say when you are interrupted? Do you speak with authority and confidence? Please leave your comments below and let’s have a conversation.

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Good article. I do have friend who expects to be listened to for the whole time we are together and yes she looks annoyed if I speak about myself. She is actually extremely selfish and I usually back away for months at a time, even years. She does have a good side to her but it is very frustrating. I will try what is suggested here.

Jan J

There are some good suggestions here. But I’ve nipped in the bud several potential friendships when the other person talks so relentlessly that if I try to interject, they either don’t hear me or, worse yet, reprimand me. I don’t try to educate these people. If, at their age, they are so lacking in interest in others, I won’t be able to change them. It’s different if it’s sporadic, like they’re in a crisis and have a lot to get off their chest. But if it’s a pattern, I’m out of there. For decades, people have complimented me on my listening skills and the empathy and insight I bring. If I don’t get any of that in return, I’ll move along. I get little to nothing out of these “friendships” so I won’t waste my time.


Jan J. – Very wise reasoning.
People like that are so frustrating….all take and no give

Annette Weinold

Thanks. Well said. It can be frustrated however, since a lot of people are very selfcentered these days. It is difficult to find like minded people. Perhaps it is our world today.


I often times feel like friends don’t really listen to me. I’m usually the listener, and try to do it with empathy. Doesn’t work both ways though.


Tauna….Well I empathise with you.
Except for a very few people I feel people are mostly terrible listeners.

The Author

Mary K Armstrong is a former yoga teacher and psychotherapist. She writes about aging and taking charge of your life, on moving, living well, and finding personal happiness.

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