Why Don’t we Listen to
By: Mr. SAIDI Hamza
Professor Mohamed DELLAL
Introduction to Human Science class
Why Don’t we Listen to Each Other?
When we talk about communication, in spite of that communication is about
expressing myself and listening to others, we mostly focus on the talking part more
than the listening part, which is at least as important as talking. To my mind , only few
of us if I’m afraid to say none of us really gives listening as much energy as we give to
talking. We are all the same. We are all human beings. We all have thoughts and
feelings, and we all love to be understood and heard. Thus, we forget that the
conversation partner is just another I, who wants to be heard and understood as well.
Why did I choose this topic?
The reason why I chose this topic as my research is that I experienced this habit,
and I want to make others think about it and understand that the world does not
revolve around them; other people have equally the right to express themselves as
well. Consequently, I want to send a message to make people listen as much as they
speak, if not more.
Not listening, what is it?
Not listening is an obstacle for a healthy communication and understanding,
which is necessary for co-existing with others’ differences. It is a very dangerous habit
in our communication life; given the fact that it is impossible to have an effective
communication if there is no interest in one or both of the communicators. That
absence of interest is usually shown by not listening to what the conversation partner is
saying. The most prominent cases that show the danger of it are the ineffective
listening in classroom, which leads to lack of attention, and it will eventually affect the
student’s grades and performance. On the personal level, poor listening can create an
atmosphere of misunderstanding between partners and spouses, which leads to
How we do it?
The way of practising this habit differs from a person to another; some stop
listening at once and start doing something else, like checking the phone or some
similar deeds, whereas others fake listening while they are too busy rehearsing what
they are going to say. Some others just lose concentration for a few moments, others
start looking and darting around the place while you are speaking, some people keep
on interrupting. While some jump into the conversation to finish the talker’s thought or
sentence in the same time he is speaking to him. You might think that he is listening
and that he understood you, you will be wrong, he isn't really listening to what you are
saying, he is just like the interrupter, this non-listener is already trying to get to the end
of the talker's speech, so that what he wants to say can be heard. Yet other people
totally disconnect from the conversation at some point and start daydreaming or
linking what the talker is saying with some similar memories and start thinking about
Why we do it?
We are selfish, we do not respect other’s opinions, we do not care, we only want
ourselves to be heard and understood, we find talking more fun than listening, we lack
for manners of communication. However, it is not only the receiver’s fault not to
listen; the talker has a hand in that as well, because there is what we call talking skills
if he hasn’t it, it will be a punishment for the receiver to continue listening.
The questionnaires’ analysis:
I tried to gather more data than this using my questionnaire, but the answers were
not satisfactory as I thought they would be. Next, I am going to show the result and the
statistics gathered from the questionnaires.
I handed out 100 copies of my questionnaire, but only 73 were received (41 of them
males and 32 females). The reasons why the 27 copies were not given back might be
because the majority of the students left Oujda to revise at home, or some of them just
stopped showing up anymore in the reason of revising. But most importantly is that the
73 copies that were received were all answered, but not all the questions were
answered in some copies, the majority if not all of the targets chose the easiest
answers. The table below shows the percentages of some.
P.s: (Questions’ references)
-Do you have the habit of not listening, or not paying attention to what others
say? = Q3.
- Do you know that not listening is obstructing for an effective communication ?
- For those who said No for the third question if you answered 7 as yes, is that
why you don’t practice this habit?
Yes + %
No + %
The most interesting thing that you will come across in the previous table is that
96% of the targets answered question number three with “No”, which questions if
the volunteer has the habit of not listening or not. We all agree that the answer “no
I do not have such a habit” is not true. Because somehow we do not listen, maybe
we just do not realize it, because we have overdone it, until it became in our nature
to a degree that we do not sense it anymore. On the other hand, it could be that we
just did not care to think of it. Nevertheless, whatever the reason may be, we do not
really listen, you might come across a few who listen, who have the listening skills,
but as I mentioned they are few. I do not know why these targets chose not to
express what they really do and feel.
P.S: The questionnaire can be found in the back of the research.
In spite of the fact that their identification would not be recognized, they still
chose not to say what is true, maybe because their identity was uncovered for me,
and so they tried to look in a good way as good people who listen to others. Still,
three targets which make 4.1% answered it with “Yes” they admitted the fact of not
In the seventh question, out of 73 people only one answered with “No”; he does
not know that not listening is an obstruct to a healthy communication. This shows
that all of us know the effect of this habit, and still practice it (according to what is
true). That only person might be lying, or just lacks interest in taking the
questionnaire as a serious matter. However, he was one of the two males and the
female who admitted habituating not listening, and still, he answered question
number eight which is directed only to the ones who denied not listening, and what
is more is that he answered it with “Yes” as if he doesn’t practice this habit.
8.2% of the volunteers chose not to answer question eight. I do not know the
real reason after that, but it might be because of the question’s complexity. Still,
one person chose to answer it with “No” as she does not practise this habit for the
reason that it obstructs effective communication, but for some other mysterious
In the other questions, most of the targets had the same idea in their answers,
but the ironic thing while I was reading the questionnaires, some of them answered
question six which asks about “Why don’t you listen?” while they already declared
that they don’t have this habit of not listening. Anyway, the idea within the answers
was shared with the ones who acknowledged not listening in the first place. The
talker is the one in charge on giving them the attraction of listening or not, it
depends on the speaker and what is he saying. For example; one 18 years old male
said, and I quote: “If that person talks about something which not concern me, or
when started talking about something unpleasant and pointless.” As I mentioned
before, all of the ones who answered this question had the same idea but in deferent
words. Nevertheless, if we concentrate on the idea we will still find it not a good
thing to do even if the person is talking nonsense or unpleasant things, we still have
to listen or do something else which I will be talking about in my tips in the end.
However, we all feel bad, offended and disrespected when we sense that the
conversation partner is not paying attention to what we are saying, yet some 16
individuals (=21%) don’t care if the non-listener is not a friend, member of family
or someone important for them. Still, in spite of the similar feelings about it, their
reactions to it differ, that is what almost all of the targets claimed in the last
question of my questionnaire. Here is some of what have been said concerning the
A 26 years old female said: “If I sense that he is not listening to what I said I
will not communicate with him”.
A male teacher answered: “I have to focus on my performance. And if I feel
the other is not really interested, I just shut up”.
A 23 years old male said: “I prefer to be quiet and respect the one’s decision
(not to listening to me)”.
A female answered: “I let him/her know that what is he/she doing is rude”.
A female answered: “I keep staring at him”.
A 24 years old male said: “It depends on if he meant not to listen or if
something that is out of his control, usually I try to change the subject of our
An 18 years old female said: “I won’t even talk to him, but I won’t end our
conversation till I let him know how bad what he did”.
An ‘old’ -as he wrote- male said: “I’ll keep repeating what I said till he
apologizes for not listening”.
Many answers have been delivered for this last question, by a percentage of
100%; all of the 73 volunteers answered it. What is notable here is that we like to
express our feelings when it doesn’t make us look bad somehow, which is the same
case in talking, we always prefer to talk and express ourselves way more than listen
During my fieldwork the questionnaires’ results were not gratifying enough to
me, for that I interviewed one of the people I trust for honesty to gather more
information which some of it is already mentioned in the introduction. The written
dialogue of the interview is next page.
Me: what is the importance of listening?
Mr. M: Well, first listening is an art. And not all of us are artists, some of us might
be, but still the good artists are few, the art of listening is a necessity in our
relationships, communications, and a way of learning and understanding others, we
won’t gain anything but misunderstandings and problems of communication if we
didn’t give listening as much importance as it deserves.
Me: You think, why don’t people listen to each other?
Mr. M: Not listening is a way of disrespect. It shows that you don’t need other
points of views and that you are self-sufficient, which is a wrong thing No one is
perfect, we all need other points of views so as to develop ours, it’s our selfishness
that raises it.
Me: How do you react when you face a non-listener?
Mr. M: As you know, I am a teacher. I face this annoying thing every day. To
teach I need mindful listening from students, which is a rare thing to find. While
students don’t pay attention to what I say I usually ask one of them to repeat what I
have just said, and act as if I’m angry, if he or she didn’t know what I said, this
way I guarantee that the rest of the class will be quiet and mindful.
Those were the basic questions in my interview with Mr. M; this interview gave
me much data that have been used in my research paper besides what I gathered
from the questionnaire.
I believe; every problem can be solved and every habit can be broken. In our case,
our habit can be as well if we followed some tips, and so that the recipe would be
successful; first of all, you have to lower your ego level, and reduce you
selfishness, only then you can start following the tips I’m going to give.
The following are some tips to non-listeners:
Pay attention sincerely.
Be interested in the speaker.
Do not let your mind wander.
Show compassion and concern.
Concentrate on becoming a good listener.
Give the speaker your undivided attention.
Let the other person know you are listening.
Do not turn away, even though you can still hear.
Tell you partner that you don’t understand in order to repeat.
Do not check your phone or hand watch while they’re speaking.
Body language is important, i.e., eye contact, facial expressions.
Otherwise, if he is gossiping or saying anything that might offend
you; just be straightforward with him and end the conversation.
To sum up, as they say, "We were given two ears but only one mouth, because
listening is twice as hard as talking". Listening might be tiring, but tire still better than