I Can't Hear You

Philadelphia conflict resolution coach

Has this ever happened to you?

You are having an important conversation with your partner (or friend, or co-worker or parent) and it is crystal clear that they (consistently) aren’t understanding what you are saying?  You believe they aren’t listening, or they are taking what you say too personally.   They get upset when you think they shouldn’t.  You are feeling frustrated.  You are certain that you are communicating clearly.  How could they be misunderstanding you again?  Possibly you have tried to have a particular conversation before and run into similar situation.  Possibly it happens regularly. 

It’s all too annoying.

And this other person is probably having a comparable experience in their conversations with you.


If it is happening for you, it is quite likely that your partner (or friend, or co-worker or parent) experiences the same or similar frustration in their conversations with you.  They might even offer the same description of what it is like to try and talk with you at times.  

As difficult as it might be to accept this as true, it likely is.  

If you aren’t being heard or understood as you wish in a relationship, it is reasonable to assume the other person is having the same experience.

I think it might be easier for you to have compassion for your partner (or friend, or co-worker or parent) when you realize what they are doing it ‘isn’t on purpose’.  

The solution is simple. When someone is saying something to you, take a moment to reflect on what they are hoping for by the communication. 

Understanding two things will help:
1.  Everything everyone says or does is an attempt to meet a need.
2.  We often have tragic strategies to meet our needs.

With these two ideas in mind, when your conversations get difficult and repetitive, I encourage you to slow things down.  Take a breath.  Ask yourself, what needs is this person trying to meet right now? What are they hoping for?  If you can slow down your own instant reaction to the actual words they are saying, and listen with your heart wide open, you might make some significant leaps in hearing what they actually want you to hear.  Even if they can’t actually say it in ‘the right’ words.

And likely you will get your own needs of understanding met more often by choosing connection and understanding in how you listen.