A few days ago I bumped into an acquaintance and we had the briefest of chats but as I walked away I couldn’t help thinking if people think it’s okay to just utter every thought that crosses their mind. I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes walk away from conversations wishing that I’d not said so much. I can’t help but feel we now live in an era where people truly believe that their poorly thought out opinions actually matter.
Recently I’ve been trying the count to ten theory which shouldn’t just be used in moments of anger. A while back I read that you only get one chance to have a first reaction not just a first impression and that is quite true. So, I’ve been spending quite a few moments thinking before responding in such a way that I can live with it.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is the same way we expect people to be gracious towards us they expect the same. Thoughtless utterances can hurt people deeply and nobody enjoys being hurt.
I like to imagine that my mouth is a tree and my words are fruit. Bottom line is nobody likes bad fruit!
Don’t you just love those conversations that start with openers like “I don’t want to brag or anything” followed by the biggest brag session! The opener we all love to hate “I’m not saying I know everything but I do have knowledge of most things.” Where do you take the conversation to from there?
I recently found myself in a conversation with an acquaintance as we sometimes do and from the outset I had no doubt that she had turned me into a student in her lessons of life. I was bombarded with facts and lots of opinion. While I was preparing my answer and deciding in my little head whether I should engage with her. I quickly realised she was trying to prove how much she actually knew in comparison to me. Well what she thought she knew anyway. It was in those seconds I decided to let her live out her dream of sharing her superior life experience with every living creature she meets.
This was my very intellectual response because when somebody has chosen to be your adviser the least you can do is engage them. In that moment I looked at her and thought “you are not going to spin me in your web.” I started nodding, smiling and giving the occasional ‘mmm’ which actually meant you’re so clever why don’t you just go on speaking to yourself while I compile a shopping list in my head.
As someone who tends to speak far too much I am always aware of the person I’m having the conversation with and unless they ask for advice I don’t give any. If they do ask and I’m clueless I say so. Sometimes all that’s required of you is to listen to the person and offer heartfelt support.
A conversation is a two way game and it just shows you care for the person you’re engaging with when you allow them to express themselves.
Will you listen today?
I’ve had the privilege of meeting many new people since arriving in England. Of course some are once off meetings, others acquaintances and some I count amongst my closest friends.
Anybody who knows me knows that I thrive on good honest conversation and a lively debate occasionally.
I’m not one who wears my heart on my sleeve but if the situation calls for it I will give more information if required.
Communication is a really complex tool! Give too much and you’re a blabber mouth. Say too little and you’re regarded as too secretive.
If I had a few wishes one would be for conversation to be based on complete honesty and understanding. In the meantime though as a self-confessed “overly extrovert” individual I have got to be a little more understanding when it comes to people who don’t view things and express them as I do!
So while the world is considered a stage everybody has got to be allowed to play their part as best they can.
Lights! Camera! Action!
It’s almost three years now since my family arrived in Birmingham. These days I miss some simple things from back home. The thing I missed the most though and feared I would lose my mind over in those early days was conversation. Those days were very bleak and I would look forward to going to local shops just to have minimal contact with adults. My husband worked away from home so it was quite lonely hanging around with my very young children.
Of course things are very different now and I have amassed a wonderful group of friends who I love meeting with and having wonderful laughs. We are all so very different yet those differences make our friendship really special. I’m so thankful for people who were willing to give a talkative, conversation loving South African a talking chance!