So you are a decent, respectful person who doesn’t have communication problems with anyone. Except for that one person. They just don’t listen to you, they don’t value your opinion and you don’t feel respected by them.

But you’ve noticed that they don’t really listen to or value anyone, so it’s not personal, it’s just very tiresome, especially when you know what you’re talking about and they clearly don’t.

It is not uncommon to be someone who gets along well with everyone, to be known for your excellent communication skills and to encounter one person who just doesn’t get it.

Jon's story

Last year my colleague, Jon, who is known for getting along with just about anyone, was complaining to me about his new boss. Jon was passionate about his work, had worked in his organisation for over 15 years and was renowned as an expert in his field.

He was really aggrieved that his new boss talked to him as though he was an imbecile and had no interest in his thoughts or opinions.

Everyone agrees with me

In passing, Jon had subtly asked some other heads of departments about their experience of this man and was quite relieved to find that they all thought about him the same way - someone who was very much out for himself and not at all interested in anyone else’s opinions. They agreed that he definitely didn’t care about the organisation in the way that they all did.

Who is suffering?

Before Jon experienced War to Peace®, he spent a lot of time accusing and blaming his new boss for his dissatisfaction at work.  On the plus side, it felt good knowing that he was right about him (he knew lots of people who agreed with him after all), but this didn’t sustain him for long; he often dreaded going into work and couldn't see how things would change, as he felt that he’d tried everything.

Jon had seriously considered leaving his organisation but he had built up a long service with them and, in any case, he had to stay for at least the next six months otherwise he would lose his bonus.

Frustration, Deisel Demon

Help is at hand!

When Jon came along to a War to Peace® workshop he realised that the perceptions he held about his boss were creating his experience of him.

When he was seeing him though the lens of 'not listening to me', 'disrespectful', 'doesn’t care as much as I do', he realised that he hadn’t been helping his relationship with him at all. With a wry grin, he also admitted that he had himself failed to listen and been quite disrespectful to this new boss.  In fact, Jon eventually realised that the whole time he’d been focussed on how wrong his boss was being, he hadn’t been contributing much at all to the organisation he had claimed to care about so much.

With this newfound clarity, Jon emailed his boss, explaining what he had to offer and asking for a meeting to discuss his ideas. He was more than a little surprised when his boss asked if he’d like to go for a beer after to work to discuss them.

Jon discovered that they shared far more in common than he could have thought (both were huge fans of poker nights) and that his new boss wasn’t such a bad guy after all. In fact he felt a little guilty when his boss shared that he had been finding it hard to settle in his new home, as his wife and kids were still in the process of relocating from abroad and he was missing them, along with the social circle he'd built up in his home town.

Over to you 

1.  Consider the times you have done the very thing you are accusing them of.

I know, you are a great listener and wouldn't ever disrespect someone in the way that they do (and that one time you did, you had extenuating circumstances), but just spend some time thinking about what you needed or wanted when you were doing this.

2.  Question the validity of your beliefs about them. Ask yourself ‘what else could their behaviour mean?’

If someone appears not to be listening to you, it may be that they are needing to be heard. Or it could mean they are having a tough time and they are distracted. Have you thought that it might not be anything to do with you at all? 

3.   Consider how much you are allowing this person to influence how you are being or behaving.

How much control are you giving away by allowing your perceptions and experience of this person to dictate how you react to them? Are you really being the person you want to be when you do this?

A final word

The next time you feel disrespected or not listened to, simply recognise that your feelings are coming from you (from the perceptions and beliefs you hold). When you apply this principle, just see how easy it becomes to override your judgment about someone and discover a new way of experiencing them.

If you would like to learn more about how to achieve the relationships you want without the other person needing to change, come along to one of our award-winning open-access War to Peace® workshops – the next is on 13 October and we have just 3 spaces left. If you have a team and you feel they could benefit from experiencing this work, we run in-house War to Peace® workshops globally throughout the year. Get in touch with us here.

Need convincing? Click here to see what other people are saying about their experiences of War to Peace®

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Photo credit: Demon Diesel

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2 Responses to “Feeling disrespected or not listened to? 3 ways to change your experience.”

  1. Chloe says:

    Hi Graham – lovely to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Really glad it’s useful – one of the things I like most about WtP is its applicability to our relationships at work and at home. And thank goodness, I know I am never short of examples from either of where I’ve needed to apply it!

    Really hope this finds you well too.

    All the best,


  2. Graham says:

    Hi Chloe

    Hope you are well. Great article and useful not only in work life but home life too. Well done to you

    All the best


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