How To Deal With A Friend Who Never Hears You

It’s one thing to listen, but it’s another thing to actually hear. I know there have been times in my life where I have tuned out what others were saying simply because I didn’t care. But I think that’s far different than those who engage in conversation only to spend the whole time not hearing you because they’re just waiting for it to be their turn to talk again.

A friend of mine, whom I’ve had since before moving to the city, came over recently. I already knew this particular person to be the type to repeat the same stories over and over every time you see her, but instead of pointing it out and watching her get defensive I’ve learned it’s just easier to shut up. I’ve also learned that she always has about 10 stories filed on revolving circulation, so if you go about a month without seeing her, you’ll get a new crop of tales.

So there we are chatting away and she says something to me that made me realize that she actually has no idea who I am. She clearly doesn’t hear me at all. I’m not going to mention what she said to me to make me have this realization so she doesn’t feel weird when I see her in a month for a new crop of stories, but I will say it wasn’t very far off from saying “I never knew your last name was Chatel!”

It was a fact so obvious about me that even most of you (as in, our dedicated readers) would know it, so for this friend, a friend who is supposedly “so close” to me to not know something so inherently basic about who I am, made me realize she really has never heard me. But the thing is I’m not going to stand for half-ass friendships anymore! I’m re-evaluating my relationships with people. “You’re either in or you’re out,” to quote the great Heidi Klum.

Here are six ways to deal with those who just don’t fucking hear you (or themselves for that matter, or else they wouldn’t be on constant repeat.) Broken records are a bitch, that’s why you usually throw them out.


Photo: NYLifeCoaching

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    • Maggie

      Ugh, I’m having this problem right now. One of my good friends talks all the time about how we’re “best friends, like sisters” even though we’re not that close. I still try to be a great friend to her, because my friends are amazing and I love them. However, this weekend my boyfriend, who is in the military, left for a 3-month long training exercise, and she hasn’t said a peep to me about it. The worst part? I was with her for two hours the day he left. She hasn’t even asked me how I’m doing or done anything that a best friend would do (case in point: my actual best friend came over with 2 lbs. of chocolate-covered almonds and a Sandra Bullock movie marathon). It really upsets me, because I work my ass off to be a good friend, and when it’s my turn to need a shoulder to cry on, she doesn’t seem to give a crap.

    • Nancy

      I know way too many people like that. I think it’s the most annoying/insulting/rude thing ever. Another tip: if you have a friend like that make sure you’re never around them if they do cocaine. They WILL talk for hours straight without letting a single other person talk. I have seen this. He would just start YELLING once someone else tried to speak. I literally told him (I was his closest friend there) to” stop talking”, “you’re talking way too much”, “SHUT UP!” Possibly a little harsh, but everyone was looking away from him so they wouldn’t catch his eye, but making eye contact with each other like “WOW.” But he caught my friend (now boyfriend :) )’s eye and just would not stop. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

    • T-Lex

      So this does not directly relate (its more of a how to deal with friends who are bad at being friends) but I read this and totally felt empowered to adult-up and tell a friend she couldn’t use me to stay over when her and her bf need space (which was real time happening tonight). So Thanks!

    • M

      What do you do when it’s not a friend, it’s your mom?