I am expert at telling at a glance when people are Faking Listening, especially my partner. Here are some helpful cues for you:
- No eye contact
- If you are talking and the other person gets up, it could be a sign that they are not interested and are pretending to listen. Stop talking immediately and see what happens.
- Agreement to statements opposite to what they would say normally. For example, if you are in the middle of a conversation with your husband and he happens to agree to a trip to Paris when you are aware that he is really a penny-pincher, don't get too excited about the trip. If he follows the typical male pattern (and no I am not talking about male pattern baldness), he will be confused and feign ignorance to the entire conversation.
- Nods without comment.
- Saying yes instead of no to indicate he is listening. (I don't recommend trapping your partner in a situation in which he is not listening, but this can sometimes be the best way to tell his modus operandi, so to speak.)
The ramifications are not nearly as funny as the cues. When a man Fakes Listening in a relationship (or a woman, but this happens significantly less), it signals to their partner that they are not valuable. More than this, it is a break-down in communication. I know as a woman that I tend to talk too much, but please do not pretend to listen to what I am saying. It might be difficult for a man to understand, but some of what I am saying could actually be important or have bearing on the partner's immediate or future plans.
Faking Listening can also have a similar effect of Faking an Orgasm. Just as a woman faking an orgasm would give a man the idea that he is a Sex God, a man faking listening could be giving his partner the idea that she is knowledgable about topics that she is not, or generally speaking, make her unfit for conversation in society.