How do you talk to those who will not listen to you?
Maybe you do not.
Maybe you learn to give up trying to have any meaningful conversations with them, because you have no idea how the words you throw at them will be received, if at all. And the words that will be thrown back to you will be even less predictable… why go through all the trouble just to confirm that there is indeed a severe communication breakdown?
Well, maybe because they are important to you.
Why else would you be bothered about not being able to talk to them!
So, then, what can you do?
Maybe you can patiently listen to them until they finish saying everything they have to say, so you can have your turn speaking?
No, they will probably be satisfied with the fact that they have said all they wanted, and will not give you a chance to get your word in. They do not care to listen, remember?
Then, maybe you must first establish a basic rule in communication – maybe you can tell them that you will listen to them if they will first listen to you.
But this will not assure meaningful conversations. It is a start, but they could just pretend to listen to you, and once you are finished, talk about what they want, irrespective of what you had just said. You have gotten them to take a bite into your words… now you need to find a way to get them to chew and swallow, then digest.
Then, maybe you can add a couple more rules: have them repeat what you have said, and ask what they think about it.
This way, they will have to pay attention to your words, and take the time to come up with an opinion on them.
And maybe you can always follow up with a “why?”
When they tell you what they think about what you have said, get them to give you reasons why they thought so. And to that, you can calmly express your agreement or objection… and they will most likely show some reaction… to which you can once again ask “why?”… and when they give you further reasons, you can express your yea or nay once more…
Next thing you know, you have got a meaningful conversation going!
Now, there is one thing you need to be careful of. You must resist the urge to coax them into listening to you by only telling them what they want to hear. Your true goal is to get them to listen to what you have to say, not just to anything you say – sucking up to and bribing them will not let you achieve this goal.
I have reasons to believe this approach would work. The very fact that they are talking to you, however lopsidedly it may be, indicates that you are not completely unimportant to them.
So, who am I talking about?
Maybe no one in particular.
Or maybe this cat that I keep seeing on my way back home from work. It meows at me quite often, but quickly turns away when I approach it. But I am determined to have a meaningful conversation with it, one of these days!