6 signs you’re genuinely a good listener, according to psychology

Having someone who really listens—and I mean really listens—can be like finding a trusty compass. 

Imagine not just talking, but someone fully getting your thoughts and feelings, acting as a steady guide through choppy seas.

It goes well beyond just a chat… it’s a deep connection bringing comfort and a real sense of belonging.

Be it in personal or work settings, this level of understanding builds strong bonds and kicks loneliness to the curb.

If you’re looking for signs that you’re one of these good listeners, modern psychology offers us a few hints. 

Starting with an obvious one: a strict no-interrupting policy.

1) You would never interrupt someone

You’re deep into a conversation, laying down the facts, and suddenly, you sense that your audience is mentally rehearsing their acceptance speech instead of vibing with your story. Annoying, huh?

Well, back in 2016, a study on successful communication in hospital managers explored how the best listeners are ones who practice active listening.

“[Active listening] is based on complete attention to what a person is saying, listening carefully while showing interest and not interrupting,” says researchers.

This essentially means that the mark of a good listener goes beyond hearing the words, it’s about ditching the mental drafts of your next reply.

It’s about hitting pause on your own narrative and letting someone else take center stage. 

That’s the magic of active listening—it creates a space where a person’s words can unfold, unbridled and unhurried.

2) You’re not afraid to ask questions (lots of them!)

Ever met someone who just nails the first impression every time?

Well, here’s the lowdown—they’ve probably mastered the art of listening deeply and asking killer questions. 

According to a study on the effectiveness of active listening on first impressions, the sign of a great listener includes “asking questions to encourage the speaker to elaborate on his or her beliefs or feelings.”

In this way, you don’t just listen, you go deeper.

You start asking questions that make the other person spill the juicy details, elaborate on their thoughts, and open up about their feelings. 

It’s like unlocking a door to a person’s inner world, making them feel understood.

It’s not about bombarding people, rather, it’s about the quality of your questions.

The study also explores the impact a person’s ability to listen can have on our initial encounters, particularly in the way it can increase a person’s chances of “feeling understood.”

Whether it’s a job interview, a blind date, or meeting your partner’s parents, asking thoughtful questions isn’t just a polite thing to do—it works to create a genuine connection.

Plus it can be the secret to leaving a lasting, positive impression.

3) You leave your agenda at the door

How often do we come to conversations with a mental checklist of what we want to say or get across?

Dallas-based psychologist Pamela D. Garcy Ph.D. explores the concept of listening without bringing your own agenda. 

“Enter the conversation without an agenda to problem solve, give advice, steer the speaker or otherwise influence the direction,” says Dr. Garcy.

This is like entering a conversation without a script, allowing it to flow naturally.

Think about the last time you shared something important, and the other person seemed more interested in solving your problem than understanding your feelings. 

Now, imagine someone just listening, without trying to fix everything. That’s the power of ditching your agenda and becoming a great listener.

It’s not about being passive, it’s more so about being present, absorbing the conversation without your own goals distracting you.

Next time you gear up for a chat, ask yourself these questions: Can I leave my agenda at the door? Can I listen without trying to solve everything? 

4) You look them in the eye

phrases theyre displaying emotional intelligence 6 signs you're genuinely a good listener, according to psychology

Ever notice how when someone looks you right in the eye during a conversation, it feels different?

Well, there’s science behind it, thanks to Harvard. 

One of the most obvious “non-verbal” signs of a great listener is “sustained eye contact”, according to Harvard University-led research in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology.

When someone looks you in the eye, it shows they’re fully present and understanding what you’re saying.

Imagine pouring your heart out to someone, and they’re scrolling through their phone. Not cool, right?

But if they lock eyes with you, it changes everything. It makes the connection real. 

And it’s not just touchy-feely stuff. Eye contact adds a layer of confidence. Think job interviews. 

When you look the interviewer in the eye, you become more than just words on a CV… you become someone real who they can connect with. 

So, next time you’re in a chat, give it a shot… look them in the eye with genuine interest. 

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it—and sometimes, it’s all in the eyes.

5) You approach conversations in a non-judgmental manner

Ever find yourself chatting to someone and it’s like you’re talking to a brick wall, or worse, a judgmental know-it-all? 

I bet we all have. 

But fear not, friends, because Dr Helen Miles, a consultant clinical and forensic psychologist, explores the concept of psychologically informed listening in a Medium piece—which is basically the remedy to judgment-based listening.

She says that active listening is not “lecturing, judging, blaming, shaming, analyzing, probing, humoring, attempting one-up man ship or merely dismissing.”

So, from this we can interpret that a great listener is able to properly tune in without turning up one’s inner judge and jury.

In this way, true active listening is a bit like being a cozy, non-judgmental pillow for your friend’s words to land on.

But why, you ask? Well, because people don’t want a lecture when they’re baring their souls. 

They want understanding, empathy, and the freedom to express themselves without feeling like they’re on trial. 

Imagine if every time you shared something personal, someone dissected it right away. Not the most pleasant experience, right?

Active listening isn’t about being the smartest person in the room, it’s about creating a safe space where people feel heard, valued, and free from the shackles of judgment.

It’s time to embrace the art of psychologically informed listening—it’s like giving your conversation partner a warm, judgment-free hug for their thoughts and feelings.

6) You are able to tell when someone is hurting

If you’ve always wanted to be a better listener, it’s simple: reflect back what you feel.

“Reflecting back to the person that they sound upset or angry in that moment helps them label their feelings and validates their experience in a non-judgemental manner,” says Dr Miles.

Why does this work? When you reflect back someone’s emotions, you’re helping them put a name to what they’re feeling—a name tag for their emotional baggage.

And here’s the magic word: validation. Acknowledge someone’s emotional state without judgment, saying, “Your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to feel this way.” 

It’s telling them, “I see you, I hear you, and I’m here for you.”

It’s not just touchy-feely stuff. It’s science-backed emotional intelligence

This helps to create a safe space for understanding and connection. It’s not about fixing the problem, it’s about helping to draw out their thoughts on the matter.

Final thoughts

To sum things up, a great listener makes conversations feel easy and genuine. 

If this is you, you create a space where people can talk without fear of judgment. 

You’re not just hearing a person’s words—you’re understanding emotions and making others feel seen and supported. 

Your knack for asking thoughtful questions builds connections that leave a positive impression. 

Importantly, you come to conversations without a set agenda, letting them flow freely. This openness makes your interactions deeper and authentic.

Plus, your eye contact adds a personal touch, showing you’re fully present with them.

In a nutshell, your listening style goes beyond just hearing the words—it’s a friendly exchange of understanding and connection. 

Picture of Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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