19 Common Mistakes That Show You’re Bad at Listening

Are you a good listener? In this article, you’ll find 19 mistakes that you could be making that show you’re a bad listener. Check them out.

Interrupting

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If you feel the need to interrupt constantly while someone is speaking, then you’re likely a bad listener. The New York Times says that interrupting is diminishing and condescending for many of us. We should, out of respect, let the person finish what they’re saying.

Sighing

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Sighing or looking bored is another sign that you’re a bad listener. According to Healthline, on average, humans produce about 12 spontaneous sighs in an hour. But if we’re always sighing while people speak to us, we might appear disengaged and uninterested in what the person says.

Daydreaming

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The Behavioral Scientist says that we daydream every couple of minutes, adding up to 25–50 percent of our waking hours. We daydream so often that we might not even notice. But daydreaming while someone speaks to us might show we aren’t good at listening to them.

Looking Around

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Looking around while a person is speaking might indicate that you’re not a good listener. A person who is a good listener will fix their eyes on the person and give them good eye contact. If you’re looking in the opposite direction, they might think you’re rude.

Asking Questions

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The Behavioral Scientist also says that question-asking is an important part of a conversation as it ensures the person that we’re listening. But if we ask a question that the person has already answered, we might be showing that we were not paying any attention at all.

Cell Phone Checking

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The figures from Fortune say that Americans check their phones 144 times a day. If you check your cell phone while someone is speaking, you’ll be showing them that you aren’t a good listener. This shows that you’re just waiting for a distraction that will get you out of having to listen.

Selective Listening

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Only listening to parts of what someone says also indicates that you aren’t really paying attention to them. Selective listening can lead to confusion and lead you to the wrong conclusions. It’s also time-consuming and can lead to you having to ask for additional information that was already stated.

Eye Darting

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Michigan State University says that you shouldn’t dart your eyes around when someone is talking to you. To give someone eye contact, rather than stare, you must look at the person for 4 to 5 seconds before moving your eyes slowly to one side or the other.

Forgetting

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Forgetting what someone has said is a clear sign that you haven’t been paying attention and listening to what they said. If you come away from a conversation and immediately forget what was said, you were likely unengaged in what the person was saying.

Asking to Repeat

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Asking someone to repeat something that they have just said may also indicate that you’re not really listening to them. This can be very frustrating for the person speaking, especially if they have just explained some important information to you that is complicated to repeat.

Head Turning

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If you turn your head at the slightest noise or sign of movement in the room, you might be showing that you’re a bad listener. The person who is talking to you needs to feel like what they are saying is more interesting than finding out who coughed behind you.

Judging Prematurely

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Judging someone before you have had the time to hear all the facts shows that you aren’t a good listener. A good listener will gather all the information they can before arriving at a conclusion. They may even ask for additional information before deciding on their course of action.

Fidgeting

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A person who fidgets while someone else is speaking is a bad listener. Instead of being absorbed in what the other person is saying, the fidgeter might be shuffling in their seat or playing with their hands. They become more concentrated on what they’re doing than on what the other person says.

Multitasking

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Trying to do other tasks while someone is speaking to you shows that you’re not a good listener. The reality is that you can’t listen to someone properly or give them your full attention while you are engaged in other activities. So it’s best that you stop what you’re doing to listen attentively.

Planning

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Planning what you’ll say when the person stops speaking also shows that you aren’t really listening to them. While planning your response, you’ll miss some things that the person says, and you might end up saying something you wouldn’t have said had you been listening properly.

Mental Music

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We all have songs that play on repeat in our heads during the day. But is there a song on repeat in your mind while you’re listening to someone speak? If so, then you might miss something that the person says. Try to put your mental playlist on pause until the person has finished speaking.

Finishing Sentences

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Finishing someone’s sentences is a sign that you’re not good at listening. Instead of waiting for the person to say what you think they might say, you must get in there first and hopefully say it faster. Instead of finishing someone’s sentences, allow them to speak freely.

Habits

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Giving way to habitual movements might show the person who’s speaking that you’re not really listening to what they have to say. These habits include snapping your knuckles, playing with your hair, twisting the rings on your fingers, and rocking in your chair.

Not Asking Questions

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Not asking questions from time to time when someone pauses might show that you’re not paying attention to what they have to say. Rather than being engaged enough in what is being said to ask a related question, your mind is in a faraway place.

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