The Art of Looking Interested

We've all done it.

Completely spaced out while someone is talking to us. They drone on about the latest antics of their cat and how cute she looks in a tutu and you begin thinking about dancing cats and then the ballet and then New York and a Ray's pizza and the next think you know your eyes are glazed and you're looking slightly off to the right as drool forms in the corner of your lip.

That's not just me, right?

Here are some tips for keeping that listening look on your face, but staying in your own little world as well.

The eyes have it

Rule number 1 is never let your eyes glaze over! Never! It's the death of your daydreams as you snap out of it to find your speaker looking at you with an expression of disgust. I'm serious, this could end friendships, jobs...who knows.

Keep your eyes focused and alert.

Even if you're doing something else while the person is talking to you. I find this to be easier...

laugh, but don't get crazy eyes like this guy
laugh, but don't get crazy eyes like this guy

Mimic Their Actions

Want them to think you're a great listener?

Mimic their actions.

They laugh, you laugh. They scoff, you scoff even louder. They make a weird noise...you...well you get the point. It makes them think you're right there with them.

An occasional nod and "mmm hmm" doesn't hurt, either.

Ask Questions

This one is usually easy. Just ask for clarification or more detail on something they mentioned at the beginning. Or something you already know. Or listen for two seconds, ask your question and tune back out.

For example, "Wait a second, do you have two cats or just the one?"

They'll launch on another tirade and you can list your to-do's in your head.

Do you know how many grocery lists I've made while listening to people drone on?

ew gross.
ew gross.

Keep Half an Ear Open

Chances are if you're asked a question and you were in Cancun in your mind you're in trouble. So keep half an ear out for the inflection the voice makes when it asks a question. Even if you miss the first half and only catch the second, you can revert to tip #3 and ask a question about their question.

Example: Have you ever held one of those awful furry tarantulas?

All you hear is tarantulas.

Employ some acting skills here and shudder visibly and ask "Tarantulas?" in an incredulous voice. Chances are they'll repeat the question and you'll be out of the woods.

the one on the right is clearly on another planet
the one on the right is clearly on another planet

So Remember

Keep your eyes focused

Mimic their emotions

Ask the occasional question

Watch out for questions

With practice, you can accomplish this and be able to lay out your whole next week's worth of outfits without your talker thinking any less of you!

What do you do in your daydreams?

  • Imagine yourself on a beach somewhere far away
  • List out your to-do's
  • Try to figure out why you're standing there pretending to listen in the first place
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How about you?

 Where do you go when you tune someone out?

Got any more helpful tips?

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Comments 2 comments

jacobt2 7 years ago

Nod your head to show that you agree with what they are saying


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SuperiorInteriors 5 years ago from San Diego, California

"Yup... uh-huh... I know right?... yeah yeah yeah."

Works every time :P

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