Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Those" People

Sometimes I find I am one of "those" people, you know, the people who monopolize a conversation and talk about themselves, their ideas, personal stories, or opinions and don't really listen to the other person during discussions. It's only recently that I've come to realize this about myself, and it's not something I do all the time, but it is something I want to STOP doing.

In the conversational dynamic there are times when I am the one spoken to and I do very little talking; I know several people who are more dominant speakers than I am so I find myself on the receiving end. This is how I realized I have the same issue when I get around someone who isn't conversationally dominant, to coin a phrase, and it's no fun. I want to be a better friend than that.

I want to be someone who can give and take in a conversation. I want to be sparkling and witty and interesting, but I also want to be a good listener, to have a good dynamic going where both parties feel heard and are drawn into the discussion. I have that with DH (which is one of the reasons I love him, I mean, you gotta love it when someone makes you feel sparkling, witty, and interesting) but I need to get to a place where I can have that conversational dynamic with friends, too. I do better now in controlling myself in group situations, I think, but I have more work to do for one to one discussions.

I was with a very dear friend a couple of days ago and found myself being a conversation hog during a car drive. I didn't mean to do it and I wanted desperately to stop, but I was like a train wreck! I kept saying to myself "ask a question, think of a question", and then of course I couldn't think of anything. This is a person I know and have things in common with and when I got home I thought of a dozen different things I could have asked her about. Things I want to know, too, darn it all, so it was a lost opportunity to find out more about a person I really admire and enjoy spending time with.

I don't know if it was because I was driving or not. I get a little on the nervous side when I drive other adults around. My family has teased me forever that I am a bad driver, not in the sense that I get in wrecks or anything but in that I jerk the car around, or something, and they feel uncomfortable when they ride with me. (My oldest-younger brother, The Brat, says the way I stop the car hurts his neck.) ~:-P I don't think I'm a particularly bad driver, but it's made me self conscious so I concentrate intensely on driving smoothly on the rare occasions when I drive other adults around. (I could care less about driving smoothly with the kids; my main goal is always safety so I don't worry about smoothness when I'm hauling them back and forth.) OK, that probably wasn't the whole problem, but nerves always make things worse so it probably contributed.

Regardless, I feel badly that I was a jerk and hogged the conversation the other day and I hope the next time I get an opportunity to spend some one on one time with this particular friend, or indeed any of my friends, that I am a better listener.

I just hope my mind doesn't go blank on the questions again!


Kevin said...

I can never get a word in edgewise in your blog. I mean look at this comment, all the way at the end -- after your rant about yourself too. Geese, Louise.

PS: Your driving didn't make me throw up after surgery, but that was mainly because we were in my car.

Loretta said...

Smooth is always good as I am the one who gets car sick. But anyhow, sometimes a person may feel that they have to fill in any lulls in the conversation, but I have found from experience that it's OK to just sit with good friends. That's why they are good friends. - Kevin's Mom