The Not So Subtle Difference Between Good Listener and Bad Listener

Written by Theresa Kirkby

Listen to me! You’re not listening to me…” Is a sentence I used to say all the time to a previous partner. He’d raise his hands in defense and would shut me off by reciting most of what I’d just said. “You might have heard what I said, but you weren’t listening. You never listen,” I’d then reply with a sigh followed by a feeling of not being taken seriously.

We’ve all felt it… That slightly degenerating feeling of not being listened to. That feeling of not being important or taken seriously, because no one responded to our words.

And let’s be honest… We all do it from time to time – the not listening thing. Which is OK, because we’re just human. However… Some people never listen and always find a way to turn the conversation around, redirecting the big green arrow that says, “SPEAK” towards themselves.

Can I tell you something, without you thinking I’m having a go at you?” I once said to a woman close to my blood.”You’re a really bad listener.  Are you aware of that?” I asked with a gentle voice, after being given the green light of approval. “Yes. I know, I know. I’m working on it,” she then replied with a sigh and heavy shoulders.

As human beings we have big egos, are we’re very self-centered and love it when people want to listen to our stories. When they think we’re interesting, funny, smart. We love getting attention and are often eager to talk about ourselves… Because. Come on. Who wouldn’t want to hear about my life? I’ll gladly admit that I enjoy talking about “me”, and that I sometimes have to remind myself to LISTEN to other people when they’re talking, instead of thinking about what I’d like to say. Though many people may not be aware of their inability to listen to others. Many people might not be aware of the difference between a good listener and bad listener. But what is the difference? What makes a good listener and what makes a bad one?

A Good Listener

A good listener will make you feel worthy. They will make you feel interesting and will make you want to share your thoughts, feelings, and dreams from some of the deepest places within your soul. They will be silent when you speak, look at you and focus on what you’re saying. A good listener is patient and shows interest in you as a person, through merely being present. A good listener will make you want to listen to them.

Wow… Cool. Hands down for good listeners, they sound cool!

So, what makes a bad listener?

A Bad Listener

A bad listener will make you feel a little (or very) small, because of their ability to focus on all other things but you when you speak. A bad listener is a little too stuck in his/her own mind of thought, which makes it hard for them to be present, but easy for them to interrupt. A bad listener might be able to tell you what you just said, but won’t be able to explain your feelings to the subject. A bad listener will make you not want to listen to them.

Hmm.. They sure don’t sound like the best bunch. I’d definitely rather be a good listener. Wouldn’t you?

Good News!

We all have the capability of becoming great listeners, even though we might have been super bad ones. The only thing we have to do is to bring some awareness into our conversations when we have them. By this I mean: Remind yourself of being present and shutting off your own ego-train-brain when someone’s talking to you. Not only does this make people want to share more with you, it makes people want to listen more to you too.

The difference between good listeners and bad listeners is very simple. A hearer might be able to recite what you said, while a listener will be able to feel what you said.


So… To put it nice and straight. Listen to your partner, friend, lover, sister, brother, mother, father, wife, child, colleague, neighbor or stranger when they talk to you because you’ll gain so much from it and so will they. And hey… Sometimes we’re too tired to fully listen and other times we’re just not in the listening mood, which is completely natural. And in such cases, I think we should tell whoever is chatting parrot something like this: “Hey. I’d love to hear what you have to say, but I’m just a little too unfocused right now.

There’s too much bad communication in this world because of people not being present with one another and oneself. Therefore I think it’s really important and a massive deal breaker in any form of relationship, to think about the way we interact with other people and of our ability to listen.

Soo… let’s try our best to be good listeners. Because who knows? It might bring some more light and love to our lives and those surrounding us. It definitely has for me.

You can also check here how conscious listening can improve your intimacy in a relationship!


About the author

Theresa Kirkby

Theresa Johanne Kirkby is a certified holistic sexologist, who grew up in a small village in the south of Denmark. She is a free-spirited woman, whose vocation is to help with opening the minds of people by breaking societal limitations and taboos of sexuality and intimacy.

Over the past 6 years she has been dedicated in the path of self-love, which has taught her the beauty of connection and conscious sexuality - a beauty she now strives to share with others. She offers therapy sessions related to everything from a heartbreak to a dysfunctional sexuality.

Her passion for hula hooping is ongoing and she can often be found dancing barefoot to the rythms of a djembe-jam.

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