What To Do When He Ignores You

By: Julia Thomas

Updated December 10, 2018

Medically Reviewed By: Judson Haynes

If you have ever had an up close conversation with a little child, you may have had that child face you directly so that he or she can see into your eyes. It is in our nature to want to be certain that the individual to whom we are talking to is actually listening attentively, and not just hearing the words said. As an adult, what do you do when you aren't getting the attention you need?

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Communication is a Style

We all feel ignored from time to time either by our significant others, our children, friends, family members, co-workers, or our employers. We communicate our needs through words and actions. Even our gender influences how we communicate, therefore the messages actually being transmitted may not be what we think we are saying. Think back to the example of speaking to a child, when he or she first began communicating, it was important that the child and the person the child was speaking to faced one another. As we grow older we learn more complex forms of communication and adapt to the communication styles of others.

Some people in our lives are excellent communicators; no reading between the lines necessary. Then there are others for which there seems to be some secret code to which we are not privy. When in a relationship with the latter, it can be extremely frustrating. We want and need effective communication, but their is different than ours and it can be difficult to ascertain or understand their needs. It probably would not turn out well to take the face of our significant other and turn it towards ours when we are trying to communicate with them. However, there are positive methods we can use to get their attention and get our messages across.

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Sometimes, those who seem like poor communicators may just have a different way of communicating. They may be the sort who prefers information to be quick and to the point. They may lack the attention span to take in all we need to say, so once we have his or her attention, it is best not to use that as a soapbox moment and share everything we feel has been ignored for so long. We may need to organize and prioritize informationto be communicated.

It may also be that this individual is one of those who does not "sweat the small stuff" and does not care to waste time and attention over a discussion of forgetting to take out the trash. For this type of individual, reminding yourself of the goal (supporting behavior change) can help with how you address them forgetting to do something. For instance, telling them, "it appears you may have forgotten to take out the trash, it would be helpful to me if you could take care of it." Thanking them once the task is completing positively reinforces the behavior. You get what you need, and they do as well.

Consideration of the Audience

We do have to consider personalities when it comes to the people in our lives. There are those that are very disciplined, highly focused on their careers and simply do not care for small talk. If you try to bring up a conversation about your favorite film star's divorce, chances are, you will get ignored, or at least that is your perception. From his or her perspective, there is just no interest in the topic.

We have all been in situations, maybe at a family reunion or a business function when we have had to listen out of politeness while someone yammers on about something for which we have no interest in the least. We literally pray for someone to save us, or in extreme cases for the ground to just open up and swallow us. We would never wish to do that to anyone. Right?

When in a relationship, we expect that our partner has enough respect for us to not trap us in a conversation like the one we had with Aunt Mabel at Uncle Bert's funeral about bee keeping. When in a relationship, it is unfair to think that everything we say has to be important to someone else. Think about the things you talk about. Of those items, which of those have anything to do with your partner or his or her interests?

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If every time you answer the phone it is someone calling to sell you something for which you have no interest, after a while, you may start to screen your calls. When this does not work, the calls keep coming in, you turn off your ringer. What are you selling to your partner? Is it something he or she needs, wants, or might have an interest in?


Effective communication is dependent upon knowing your audience. If you feel ignored by your significant other, it might be an opportunity to talk about the elephant in the room. Asking about how they think and feel about discussing certain topics may add clarity to the issue and prevent larger issues from forming. Communication 101: Know your audience. For more help and advice on communication and what to do when you think you are being ignored, click here to be matched with a licensed counselor who can help you discover better communications skills.

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