We have a foreign boss, he isn't very receptive if we broach subjects with him about his mannerisms. However he has been very interested in learning different colloquialisms or idioms. We have been using this as a way to broach hard subjects with him, like when he is being rude.

For instance he has a habit of walking away when someone is speaking to him, is there a saying that we could say in this situation? When he asks what that means we can explain he is being rude by not listening to someone.

  • You could try introducing him to sarcasm as a way of presenting difficult issues while still laughing a little to take the edge off, by saying, "Don't mind me; it's not like I'm talking." This approach assumes (a) he hasn't walked out of earshot, and (b) that saying that sentence interests him enough to come back and ask about it. If that doesn't work, maybe up the ante by asking, "What, am I invisible here??"
    – JoshG
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 17:07
  • 1
    You might want to post to workplace.SE for how to handle. As for the word, your question will get closed if you don't given an example sentence.
    – jimm101
    Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 21:12
  • Jim, what do you mean by an example sentence? Where should I place it? Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 19:40
  • For the "not listening/not responding" part, there is the idiom, "It's like talking to a brick [or stone] wall." The rudeness aspect is implicit in the inflexibility and unresponsiveness of the wall.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 4:33
  • All the suggestions about not listening seem off the mark to me. If he's walking away while someone is talking, it's not a matter of listening but of respect. He hears but he either thinks what the person is saying is a waste of his time, and / or he just doesn't care.
    – EricS
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 4:39

3 Answers 3


to fall on deaf ears idiom TFD

To be ignored.

As in:

... our words are likely falling on deaf ears.

  • This is not a bad idea, either. OP, you might try, "I see my words are falling on deaf ears. Oh well."
    – JoshG
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 17:09
  • Thank you, I knew there had to be some but nothing was coming to mind! Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 17:13

be like talking to a brick wall

If talking to someone is like talking to a brick wall, the person you are speaking  to does not listen:

I've tried to discuss my feelings with her, but it's like talking  to a brick wall.

The OP's speaking to his boss is like talking to a brick wall.


There is a quote that I remember from my Vacation Bible School years ago. I don't know why I remember it. When I hear about someone not listening, this quote comes to mind:
You hear, but you do not listen! Do you wish to become his disciple, too?
Today, I looked it up, just so I could give it a proper notation. My memory is a little off, though. It's from John 9:27
The Pharisees Investigate the Healing …26“What did He do to you?” they asked. “How did He open your eyes?” 27He replied, “I already told you and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” 1

As far as your second question, it may be helpful to say: In this country, that behavior is deemed rude. Is that how you want to appear?"

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