Pseudo Listeners Vs True Listeners with Definitions


Being social animals, humans tend to communicate with one another. We will discuss Pseudo Listeners Vs True Listeners here. For some, communication is probably a choice, but generally speaking, it is a necessity. Usually, during a communication, the orator/orators and listeners play their significant parts in making a discussion interesting and informative. Pseudo listeners tend to assign the speaker’s responsibility to be informative while talking about a particular subject. The listener must pay attention to the matter that’s been spoken, be thoughtful about it, and later, if they want, spread that information among other people. Among these two parties- the listener plays an important role in understanding the speaker’s views and emotions and helps them in the conversation further.

But what if, instead of being attentive and understanding during a conversation, the listener remains completely oblivious about what’s being discussed? I am not talking about a person who is completely ignoring the discussion, which is pretty much visible to us but about someone who shows that they are listening but, in actuality, are not.

Pseudo Listeners Vs True Listeners

Keeping aside the people who show no interest towards a conservative, listeners can be categorized into two types- (i) true listeners and (ii) pseudo listeners. But here, you may ask what exactly are the differences between these two? They are both “listeners” after all, so distinguishing between them does not make any sense. Well, you may think that, but it is not completely true.

So, who is a pseudo listener, then?

To be more definitive about this term, it simply means “a person who is listening to a conversation while paying no attention towards it.” And I believe we have all been through a time when we were pseudo listening. Whether during a class, a meeting, or even during a simple conversation, pseudo listening is something we usually prefer when we find something or someone uninteresting. However, is being a pseudo listener good? And that too at almost every single situation? Well, of course not. Yes, I agree there are times when we like to not pay attention to things that do not concern us. However, there are chances that this habit of us can become frequent.

In your life, you must have had at least this one conversation when you were completely ignorant towards the person to you. You might have shown that person you are listening to their talk, but it did not bother you much in reality. Instead, you never paid any attention to it, to begin with. But one day, you find yourself in a situation where you are asking the same or maybe, the previous talk, but you have no idea how or what to answer in that situation. Not only it becomes awkward and embarrassing for you, but it also becomes hurtful and disrespectful for the person who shared their thoughts with you.

There are also chances of you becoming very “proud” of your listening skills while not being genuinely considerate towards what is shared with you. Staying quiet during a conversation does not mean that a person is entirely attentive. Sometimes, they like to show that they are interested in what you are discussing but, in reality, have something completely different subject going inside their head.

As I said before, Pseudo listeners have displayed their interest during a conversation while being utterly different towards it. They have a few specific needs that you must have noticed. You are a keen observer. You act as they listen to the conversation, trying not to reject the group or the person. They usually listen halfway and try to make their options regarding the subject being discussed. They always press their opinions on others while being completely ignorant towards the other person’s points. Instead of being attentive, they keep preparing their next point or argument to show their superiority during the conversation. Even though they are “listening,” the” only focus on the person’s vulnerable points and try to take advantage of that situation; sometimes, they even listen halfway just for the sake of not getting thrown away without irritating anyone.

If you have seen such people or feel like you your site, then yes, this is what being a pseudo listener, or pseudo listening is like. But have you ever wondered why do pseudo listeners like to act like that? Or what even keeps people like these from being good listeners

Here are a few reasons listed below:

  1. CONSTANT COMPARISON: One of the biggest reasons pseudo listening occurs is the listener’s tendency to compare their situation with the speaker. Usually, while making comparisons, the person becomes less attentive to the speaker as they continue to think who is better or more stable and resourceful. Statements such as “I’ve been through worse” or “I am sure you are not as good as me” can occur, which can completely distract the listener and make them more indifferent towards the conversation.

  2. THE ACT OF MIND READING: Have you ever talked to someone who always kept on guessing your points without you even correctly correcting what you are talking about? Well, this is one of the biggest reasons for pseudo listening. Even you might have been in such a situation where you kept on guessing what the speaker is trying to say. Mind reading is pretty common for pseudo listeners who somehow end up making their options head there and interrupting you during the discussion. They may say something like, “I a,m sure you are thinking of doing something else,” although such is not the case with you. These types of conversations can badly hamper a relationship between two people.

  3. FILTERING THE TALK: Some listeners prefer to concentrate on points in what flaws or blame the speaker for it. You can say that they like to filter the discussion while not being considerate towards what’s said. In another case, a person can also be seen as filtering if they continue to hear things in the conversation that others cannot. It is the same as making assumptions; however, here, they are more emotionally driven. They feel like they want to upset the speaker, and so they put up an act or maybe, are so emotional during that discussion that they only pick things that they find convenient for themselves.

  4. BEING JUDGMENTAL: If a person already has a fixed image of you in their head, then you may never get the chance to have a proper discussion with them. Being flexible during conversations is necessary, and if someone continually keeps judging the speaker, then there is no possibility that they are listening to them. Because their mind is fixated on their “personality” and “mindset,” they may never give the speaker a chance, to begin with. Things such as “I’m sure he is saying it because he hates it” or “They support this because they never want to understand others’ mindset” can keep coming into their mind. When they have already labeled the person, how can anyone expect to listen to them?

  5. REHEARSAL: How can you expect a conversation you go through appropriately if you are already making presumptions and trying to have the “proper answer” ready? You may think like you are paying attention to the conversation, but all you are thinking about is how you will give them the next answer. Not only doing something like this is disrespectful, but such actions can sometimes emotionally scar a person. It is not possible to have a correct reply ready during a conversation because if a listener comes to prioritize their views all the time, what will be the speaker’s point?

  6. THE ADVISOR: Some pseudo listeners rehearse their replies, but some like to play the “advisor.” During a conversation, there is nothing wrong with giving advice. Many of the times, this advice can be of great help. However, just because someone is excellent at providing pieces of advice doesn’t mean they should not even listen to a person’s problems properly. If you end up giving your “life-saving” advice to a person before they could even complete their first sentence, then it will leave a terrible impact. Not only will you be considered indifferent, but it will also showcase your sense of superiority.

  7. CONSTANTLY PRESENTING ARGUMENTS: Debates are a healthy way of gaining knowledge and information. But if we continue to turn every single conversation into debates, discussions would lose their meaning. There are many times when instead of being attentive, a person tries to present their point all the time just for the sake of showing that their viewpoint is right. They will not understand what you are trying to say. Instead, they will counter you with their own ideas and assumptions. Things such as “You never do what I tell you” or “You are wrong because you did it like this, and that’s why you are paying for it now” can be said by them. Sarcastic and harsh comments can lead to a disastrous situation, making the discussion turn into a useless debate.

  8. THE NEED TO BE RIGHT: The pseudo listeners can be stubborn and arrogant, but they also feel like showing their superiority during conversations. Instead of being attentive or understanding, they often persuasively present their points as if they want to show or prove they are right. This strong desire to show their “right” viewpoints often leads to a disastrous conversation. Not only is it a letdown, but it also indicates how obstinate a person can be to make their point right.

So, what makes a pseudo listener different from a good listener?

Pseudo listeners usually get away with their actions because there are chances of the speaker being less confident about their skills. Their self-consciousness gets in the way, promoting pseudo listening in one manner. However, how do we figure out whether a person is listening to us or not? Well, a true listener is definitely different from a pseudo listener, and there are several reasons to prove it.


While having any discussion or conversation, the need for a healthy environment also helps. And if you are with someone whose company you genuinely enjoy and feel comfortable enough with, talking to them will always you out.

Not only will they remain quiet and attentive towards your words, but they will also show concern through their expressions and gestures, which makes you comfortable with them.


If you think that by only remaining quiet, you are an excellent listener, you’re mistaken. Conversations are supposed to two-sided rather than remaining just a “speaker vs. hearer” interaction.

Paying attention to the conversation while also stating your views and questions politely also helps create a healthy relationship between two people. Being argumentative and rude is not the answer for becoming a true listener. Instead, it is the understanding of being polite and interactive while also being considerate towards the speaker’s feelings is what makes you a true listener.


When you are speaking in front of someone, your self-esteem is also building. Because of the listener’s response and gestures, we can understand whether we are being heard or not.

A true listener creates a healthy environment for the conversation and remains interactive, and tries to help build the speaker’s self-esteem. Pseudo listeners don’t understand as they feel like keeping their viewpoints is what matters the most.


False listeners are usually in a hurry to present their advice, true listeners are not. Instead of being in a rush, true listeners like to listen to the conversation properly before reaching any consequences. Only after are they able to understand do they present their suggestions.

You will be able to figure a true listener out if they genuinely give you a proper suggestion, which helps your situation. Not only will that be valuable, but you will also feel heard.


While having a discussion, it will not help you if it remained one-sided or argumentative. Instead, discussing the subject with someone who carefully listens to you while also presenting their points makes a great learning experience. Along with learning new things, you also come to learn how you can later become such an attentive listener.


Listening to someone is not just about paying attention to their word. It also means that you should also understand what they are going through while talking about it. Emotional connection is essential, especially in the case of personal relationships. And if the listener lacks such a bond, then it is practically impossible to have a genuine conversation with them.

A true companion always makes you feel heard. And that’s exactly what a true listener does as well. They not only listen but act on it, which strengthens the relationship.

I have given you the basic ideas about the difference between a true listener and a pseudo listener. But just reading about it is not going to of any help. Actually, pseudo listeners and true listeners always leave some impact on any relationship.

Here is how both the listeners affect communications in certain relationships and situations:


Being with someone you love gives you a great sense of happiness. However, to make any relationship work, communication is a necessity. If you are with your partner, you cannot expect them to understand your feelings just by looking at you all the time. Similarly, you cannot solve every problem with them through simple conversations.

In a romantic relationship, being understanding of your partner’s words and needs is important. And the only way to understand them is by being attentive and responsive towards them. If you happen to be a pseudo listener or are with a pseudo listener, you will understand how much attention is being paid. You will be able to understand your emotional bond with them through conversations. Communication is the key to making a relationship healthy and successful, and if the couples themselves do not pay attention to each other’s words, it will lead to a failure.


Like I said before, in any relationship, the conversation is necessary. And so is the role of a listener. In the case of parents and children, if they are not attentive to one another, it may lead to bad relationship ties. If parents are ignorant towards their child, they encourage pseudo listening, leading to an unhealthy familial relationship. Similarly, pseudo listening is also engaged in families by teenagers. Several studies suggest that teenagers go through a “rebellious phase,” which makes them think they have better things.  Both parents and children need to have good listening skills because poor listening from parents can cause the child to be closed off, which further encourages pseudo listening.


Pseudo listening is ubiquitous in classrooms, but it is definitely something that should not be encouraged. Being an attentive listener in the classroom or meetings is as necessary as any other points mentioned above. Students can fall prey to pseudo listening because of phones, computers, iPods, etc., which distract them from their studies. Similarly, in the workplace, pseudo listening can be encouraged because of the company culture. Effective listening in both cases shows concern for their students/subordinates, fostering cohesive bonds, commitment, and trust. This can help them to pay attention and learn what is being taught or discussed.


It does not matter whether the said person is a political leader or a leader in any other field; if pseudo listening is being encouraged in their presence, it is a terrible leadership sign. It usually occurs due to limited interactions, self-esteem issues, and lack of confidence. True listening can change this situation and help the person grow into a better leader by being more attentive and understanding. But if the opposite of it keeps continuing, then it will only make the situation worse.

So, here are a few listed information regarding pseudo listeners and good listeners. Sometimes, it can be hard to understand who is a false listener and who is not. However, you can try to become a little more observant and keep yourself away from pseudo listeners if you study their expressions and body languages along with their way of talking. Healthy conversations, after all, are of great help for a person’s growth. But if we continue to throw ourselves into people who don’t show any interest in our conversations, it will only hamper our self-esteem.

Also read How I Became an Advocacy Communications Strategist

Pseudo Listeners Vs True Listeners with Definitions

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