People who talk a lot but never really listen usually display these 9 behaviors without realizing it

There’s a stark contrast between having a conversation and just waiting for your turn to speak.

The difference boils down to listening. Often, people who talk a lot have a tendency to monopolize conversations, not truly hearing what others have to say.

Conversing with someone should be a two-way street, not just a platform for one person’s thoughts and opinions. And those who are observant might notice that individuals who love to talk but rarely listen often display certain behaviors without even knowing it.

In this article, we’ll uncover the 9 behaviors typically exhibited by people who talk a lot but never really listen.

So if you’ve ever wondered why some people just can’t seem to hear you out, keep reading. 

1) Dominating the conversation

It’s a common scenario when dealing with those who talk a lot but never truly listen.

These individuals often monopolize the conversation, making it all about them and their stories. There’s a constant desire to be in control, to be the center of attention.

Think about it – you’re sharing an experience or expressing an opinion, and before you can even finish, they jump in with their own story or viewpoint. It’s like they’re not really interested in what you have to say; they’re just waiting for their turn to speak.

This behavior is more about expressing their own thoughts than understanding yours. It’s a clear sign of someone who talks a lot but doesn’t really listen.

But remember, everyone likes to be heard. So, if you notice this tendency in yourself, take a step back and cultivate the art of active listening. It can make all the difference in your conversations and relationships.

2) Ignoring non-verbal cues

I recall a friend I used to have, let’s call him Ben, who loved to talk. We’d meet for coffee, and he’d launch into his latest story or idea, barely pausing for breath.

One particular day, I was going through a rough time and was hoping to discuss it with him.

As he started on one of his usual monologues, I tried giving non-verbal cues to indicate that I wasn’t in the mood for his stories that day – I kept my responses minimal, didn’t maintain eye contact, and even had my arms crossed.

But Ben, engrossed in his own world, failed to pick up on any of these signals. He just kept talking, oblivious to my distress.

Ignoring non-verbal cues is another behavior often displayed by people who talk a lot but don’t listen. They’re so focused on their own narrative that they miss out on these subtle signs from others.

It’s a vital skill to be able to read and respond to non-verbal cues during a conversation. It shows that you’re not just hearing the words, but truly listening and understanding the other person’s emotions and thoughts.

3) Interrupting frequently

In the midst of a conversation, have you ever been cut off before you could finish your point? If so, you know how frustrating it can be. It feels like the other person isn’t really interested in your thoughts, just their own.

Constant interruptions occur when someone is more eager to express their views than to listen to others. This is a common trait among people who talk a lot but don’t truly listen.

They’re so keen on voicing their opinions that they don’t realize they’re interrupting the flow of the conversation.

A study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley found that frequent interruptions can lead to lower self-esteem in the person being interrupted.

This further highlights the importance of listening attentively and letting others fully express themselves before jumping in with our own thoughts and ideas.

4) Not asking follow-up questions

A conversation is like a game of catch. You throw a thought or an idea, and the other person catches it and throws back their response or a related query. This back-and-forth creates a dynamic, engaging discussion.

However, people who talk a lot but don’t truly listen often neglect this part of the conversational process. They don’t ask follow-up questions, missing out on opportunities to delve deeper into the topic or show genuine interest in the other person’s thoughts.

When someone shares a story or an idea, asking a relevant question not only shows that you were listening but also that you’re interested in knowing more.

If these questions are missing from a conversation, it might be a sign that the talkative person is more focused on expressing their own views than understanding yours.

5) Frequently changing the topic

We all know that person who, in the middle of a conversation, suddenly shifts the focus to something entirely unrelated. It’s akin to conversational whiplash and can be quite jarring.

Those who talk a lot but don’t genuinely listen often exhibit this behavior. Rather than staying with the current topic, showing interest, and asking relevant questions, they move on to something else that they want to discuss.

This frequent topic-jumping indicates a lack of engagement with what the other person is saying. It sends a message that their thoughts or feelings aren’t as important or interesting as what the talkative person has to say.

Listening isn’t just about hearing the words; it’s about engaging with the speaker and showing genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings. If you find yourself frequently diverting conversations, it might be time to practice active listening.

6) Lack of empathy

At the heart of any meaningful conversation lies empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s what connects us, allowing us to see the world through another’s eyes.

However, people who talk a lot but don’t truly listen often struggle with this. They’re so caught up in their own thoughts and feelings that they forget to tap into the emotions of the person they’re conversing with.

Imagine sharing a difficult experience, hoping for understanding or consolation, only to have the other person casually brush it off or worse, start talking about their own troubles. It can feel like a punch in the gut.

Empathy is more than just a nice-to-have quality; it’s a vital part of human connection. When we fail to empathize during conversations, we miss out on opportunities to forge deeper bonds and truly understand those around us.

So if you find yourself struggling with this, take a step back and try to place yourself in the other person’s shoes. It might change the way you communicate entirely.

7) Overuse of the word “I”

During a conversation, the words we use can reveal a lot about our focus. I learned this the hard way during my early days in a leadership role.

Meetings would often revolve around my ideas, thoughts, and experiences. I would start most sentences with “I think”, “I believe”, or “In my experience”. It wasn’t until a trusted colleague pointed it out that I realized how self-focused my conversations had become.

People who talk a lot but don’t truly listen often overuse the word “I”. Their conversations are filled with their opinions, experiences, and perspectives, leaving little room for others to share their thoughts.

This pattern can be detrimental to effective communication. It shifts the focus of the conversation to oneself and may prevent others from opening up or sharing their insights.

By making a conscious effort to use more inclusive language and to invite others’ perspectives, we can foster healthier, more balanced conversations.

8) Rarely acknowledging others’ input

Acknowledging others’ input is a key part of effective communication. It shows that you value their thoughts and appreciate their contribution to the conversation.

However, for people who talk a lot but don’t truly listen, acknowledging others’ input can be rare. They might hear what you’re saying, but they don’t affirm it or show appreciation for your perspective. It’s like your words just bounce off them without making an impact.

This lack of acknowledgment can make the other person feel unheard and undervalued. It’s not enough to just hear the words; showing that you understand and appreciate what’s being said is an important part of listening.

So next time you’re in a conversation, take a moment to acknowledge the other person’s thoughts or feelings. A simple “I see where you’re coming from” or “That’s an interesting perspective” can go a long way in making someone feel truly heard.

9) Failing to remember past conversations

One of the most telling signs of someone who talks a lot but doesn’t truly listen is their inability to recall past conversations.

If you’ve shared a story, expressed a concern, or divulged a personal detail only to have the person forget it later, it can feel like your words fell on deaf ears.

Remembering details from past conversations shows that you were genuinely engaged and valued what was shared. It builds trust and deepens relationships.

So if someone constantly forgets what you’ve told them, it might be an indication that they’re more focused on speaking than on listening.

Listening isn’t a passive act; it requires effort, engagement, and empathy. It’s about understanding, not just hearing.

By adopting good listening habits, we can improve our relationships and have more meaningful conversations.

A final note: It’s about creating connections

Meaningful conversation requires the simple act of listening. It’s not merely an exchange of words but an exploration of ideas, feelings, and experiences.

Renowned psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good.”

For those who talk a lot but fail to listen, it’s often a missed opportunity to forge deeper connections and understand others at a more profound level. The behaviors we’ve discussed might be unconscious and habitual, but recognizing them is the first step towards change.

So the next time you find yourself in a conversation, remember – it’s not about dominating the narrative or showcasing your knowledge. It’s about opening up a space where ideas can be shared, stories can be told, and people can truly connect.

Because in the end, isn’t that what conversations are all about?

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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