Talking Past Each Other

In watching the recent debates, I’ve noticed the candidates talking past each other. They don’t listen to the other or answer the questions. How often do we do that in our own lives?

Just like the presidential debate, these two candidates are a mirror for how we treat each other on a daily basis. In the debate they created a loop that didn’t resolve. Both sides were questioned; then talked about something else. They weren’t listening to each other. They would simply keep talking in order to try and overpower whomever they were speaking to. Nothing was solved. We walked away from that debate with no solutions, or even answers. Sound familiar?

This is happening to us a lot. You can tell because we are all worn out from trying to resolve it for ourselves. Want to make some changes?


  • Always start with yourself. How much am I contributing to the problem?
  • Are you talking specifically to the person in front of you, or to some absent group?
  • Am I pausing and listening to what the person says, or am I just trying to win?
  • Are you thinking about what you want to say?
  • Did they hear me? How would you know if they didn’t?
  • Do I need to ask for the other person to pause and listen to what I say?
  • Are they listening?
  • Am I answering the questions being asked?
  • Is the other person answering the questions being asked?
  • Do we need to stop and find an answer before moving on?

This is an extremely difficult endeavor. Partly because we don’t have complete control over it. If we are unable to reduce how much we talk past someone, we will stay stuck in this loop of not resolving conflict. It starts with you. –

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