January 1, 2015 WHEN PEOPLE DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU SAY Today’s question comes from Sarah, who writes: I am totally annoyed with the kids at my school, who always block me out. I can never talk to people in big groups because they just talk over me. Please help! My Advice: Hi Sarah! Sorry to hear you’re dealing with a bunch of RLMs (rude loudmouths)! There’s nothing more annoying than trying to speak your mind around people who won’t let you get a word in. You might as well be talking to your TV screen…because they just keep going, and it’s like you’re not even there! This happens to me all the time when the CCPs are hanging out in front of my locker, kissing up to MacKenzie, and I’m all, “Excuse me! You’re blocking my locker. It’s lunchtime and I want my bag lunch. Is anybody listening to me? COULD YOU PLEASE STOP BLABBING LONG ENOUGH FOR ME TO GET MY TUNA SANDWICH?” Since I haven’t yet learned to speak CCP, I’ve had to work at getting their attention and getting my point across. Maybe some of these ideas will help you too! Realize it’s not about you…it’s them! You could easily let this shake your confidence and think, “I must sound REALLY dumb when I talk, because people tune me out like the morning announcements!” But they’re not tuning you out because you’re boring or dumb. They’re tuning you out because they LOVE the sound of their own voices, or they have the attention span of a newborn kitten. If you don’t let this shake your confidence, it will be a lot easier to… Speak firmly and clearly. If you were feeling unconfident, you might have been talking kind of softly, with a lot of “um” and “I mean” and “like”…as in, “Um, like, this one time I like ate a bad egg, I mean, like, a rotten one, and it was, um, really smelly.” You might as well just say, “Don’t mind me! I’m just mumbling quietly for my own amusement! By all means, keep ignoring me!” If you speak firmly and clearly, people won’t treat you like annoying background noise and ignore you. Get to the point. I think EVERYONE is a lot more easily distracted these days. We’re always getting texts, emails, and comments on social media in the middle of conversations. And we’re used to being able to skip past stuff we don’t want to hear or see, like some random YouTube ad targeted to your grandmother, about deodorants made specifically for elderly armpits. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with telling every detail of your story…I’m sure it’s all SUPER interesting! But if people seem to block you out, it may help to skip past, “And then I tossed my second sugar packet into the trash” and hop right to, “I can’t believe I spilled my hot chocolate all over that cute little nun!” If you follow my advice, you’ll have their full attention in no time! What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Sarah?