As a person that can be on the quieter side, I find I experience this a lot in my life. At dinners, parties, work, there’s always that one person that’s happy to do most of the talking, usually about themselves. And sometimes you’re glad for that person because they take the pressure off everyone else. But, at other times, it’s the most annoying thing in the world because maybe, just maybe, someone else has a really funny story they could tell or a really pertinent point they could make.
And it’s not to say we’re not all guilty of monopolising the conversation at times. Everyone has their moment or particular group of people in which their chat game steps up to ninja level and they find themselves holding court, dazzling people with their wit. Being devastatingly charming. It happens (usually after a few champagnes). We all have our topics on which we can wax lyrical. Most of us anyways.
But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the people who you meet from time to time (or more than this sometimes) who are only interested in talking. Listening is a secondary activity that just leads to more talking… About themselves. Someone says something, maybe reveals something personal, and this person just brings it back to themselves. Doesn’t even ask the person a question because they’re just not interested. They’re just waiting for their turn to talk again.
And how I know this is because they never ask questions. Or, let’s not talk in absolutes, they rarely ask questions. To me, that’s how you show you’re interested in someone and what they have to say. It’s so arrogant to think you’ve understood every nuance of what they’re saying without needing to ask a single question. It’s either arrogance or you just aren’t that interested.
Questions are how you keep the conversation going on a particular topic. You don’t ask a question (to demonstrate your level of interest), you don’t find out any more and the conversation either ends or the topic changes. Which is totally fine, sometimes you genuinely aren’t interested or you have to leave or the topic isn’t really open for discussion. But that can’t be the case every single time!
Hmmm… Seems like this post has degenerated into a bit of a rant. Sorry about that. I’ll do better next time, promise. I also think this might be one of my first posts on a Friday. So that’s something new!