When Nobody’s Listening

Liz Sumner Communication, Learning, Patience, Self Worth Leave a Comment

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re invisible? You make a good point or offer a wise suggestion and people simply talk over you. Maybe someone says the exact same thing you just said and everyone hears and agrees, leaving you standing there shaking your head or checking to see if you’re still corporeal.

Possibly the most useful thing I learned in my recent delve into Human Design is that my type, a Projector, must wait for invitations and recognition, otherwise she is simply not heard. Once the acknowledgement is given she is valued and appreciated, but until that point she might as well be shouting into a vacuum.

Case in point– a while back I was with three or four friends setting up a stage for a musical performance. It was the first time we’d used the space and there were logistics to work out and choices to make. I had some ideas and offered them– “why don’t we try X?” No one heard a word I said. I wasn’t being timid or quiet. I tried a couple more times to offer ideas. “If you did X then it would work better.” They continued as though I wasn’t there.

I thought to myself, “Oh, this is one of those Projector situations.” This time I said, “I have some ideas about a solution to this problem.” Just a simple statement in the same tone of voice as the suggestions, but now it was heard. One of my friends said, “What are your ideas?” Now I’m invited to say my piece and suddenly everyone was listening. It almost made me laugh it was such an abrupt turnaround.

Most of us know that offering unsolicited advice gets us nowhere, but for Projectors it’s another whole level of oblivion. If not invited to share an opinion we are likely to be ignored, interrupted, and walked out on. In the past my reactions have ranged from amusement at someone’s rudeness to deeply hurt feelings and fuel for thinking I’m worthless. With this reframe that I need to be recognized first before offering ideas, I can be much more effective in my communication. Once the invitation is given I can share wisdom with confidence and receive positive feedback that my ideas are resonating.

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