When People Don't Ask About You In Conversations

Some people are discouraged because it feels as if no one ever asks about them. I don't mean when you have that one self-involved friend who only ever goes on about themselves. I mean when you have a more general sense that a lot of the people you spend time with don't take an interest in you. Like you go to your Wednesday evening improv class and ask everyone how their week was, or what's new in their lives, but they don't do the same in return.

It can be confusing and frustrating. You may ask yourself demoralizing questions like:

This article will go over some reasons, other than the disheartening possibilities above, that people may not ask about you that often. The final section will have a few suggestions on what you can do.

Try to get a clearer idea of what the problem is

You have a vague sense that "no one" asks about you. Are you sure your hunch is true? You might be selectively remembering all the times someone didn't ask about you, and filtering out the times they did. If you have an insecurity about how unlikable and forgettable you are, or about how everyone is a selfish jerk, your thinking can become skewed to look for evidence your belief is correct. Also, if you're feeling unlovable or in need of support, your desire to have others ask about you may be higher, and you'll view the regular amount of interest from them as "not enough".

Take a few weeks to pay attention to your conversations and observe how much people actually ask about you. It may be more than you assumed. You might also realize that people don't ask about you only in certain settings or contexts, and that's led to an overall conviction that no one ever wants to know how you're doing.

Consider the social context

In some situations people don't tend to ask a lot of questions about each other. If you're less-socially experienced and don't know that, you may mistakenly conclude everyone there is indifferent to you or is full of themselves.

If you're with people and feel like no one is asking about you, see if they ask about each other. You might realize they're not trying to get to know each other either.

Consider the conversation style of the people you're talking to

If a particular person never asks about you it's tempting to conclude it's because they're self-absorbed. That is possible. Some people are too focused on themselves. I think most of them don't intend to act as self-centered as they do, though a handful are true narcissists. However, there are more charitable explanations for why someone might not ask about you. You might coincidentally happen to know a lot of people who don't take much interest in others, each for their own non-selfish reasons.

If a certain person never asks about you, try to watch how they are with everyone else. Are they just not the type to ask about others, at least in the settings you see them in?

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Consider your own conversation tendencies

The idea here isn't to say, "If no one asks about you, it's all your fault and everyone else is off the hook." It's just that it's practical to take a look at yourself and see if there's anything you're doing you could tweak to get a better outcome.

What you can do if people don't ask questions about you very often

Like the intro said, this article isn't about having that one friend who treats you like a free therapist. So the suggestions below aren't about how to confront a single self-centered person. They're more general.

Know it's okay to bring up things about yourself if no one asks about them

If there's something about yourself or your life you want to talk about, you don't need "permission" in form of someone asking about that topic. Assume people would be happy to learn bits about you, even if they didn't think to ask about it themselves.

Remember, it's not automatically rude to talk about yourself. It's only a faux pas if you do it excessively. You actually should speak about yourself at times in order to keep the conversation balanced. Here are a few ways you can bring things up:

Pay attention to the dynamics of the conversations you have with people you talk to regularly, and see if there are any changes you could make

For example, when you meet your friends for coffee do you always start by asking about them? By this point do they unconsciously assume they'll begin by updating you on their life? Once you get talking does the discussion naturally lead into other topics, and they never get around to asking what's new with you? If so, try mixing things up. Rather than asking how your friend has been doing, kick things off by sharing something you've done recently.

Think about whether you have any conversation habits that may lead people not to ask about you, and make some changes if you need to

For example, working on coming across as less-guarded, or trying not to be a listener all the time. I realize not all changes can be accomplished in a week.

Another option is trying to nudge people into asking about you

Honestly, if you want to talk about your life it's easier to just bring things up yourself. Trying to get people to ask about you, just so you can feel like they were the ones who initiated it, is a bit indirect and manipulative. Though as far as social sins go, it's small potatoes. Here are two ways to do it:

"What if I'm pretty sure there's not a benign reason people don't ever ask about me?"

If there's something in your social life or interactions that aren't going the way you want, I think it's always good to consider explanations other than, "I'm strange and unlikable and no one wants to be around me." At the same time, no one's perfect. There is a chance you're doing something that may be causing people to not want to get to know you. The good news is, once you find out where you're going wrong, you can correct the issue. Though helping you figure that out is for other articles or sections of the site.