Last night with three friends over for dinner I realised that every time I talk for more than 5 seconds, Neville is there in my head shouting “you’re talking for TOOO LONG!! You’re oversharing!
No one cares!! Quick, DIVERT, ask someone a question!!”
And then I go red, my eyes get all darty, and I start talking more, and possibly even louder.
Then I kick myself later. Very odd behaviour.
This morning one of the three friends messaged me to say she loved our catch up and was sorry that she’d talked so much and basked in my question-asking at the beginning of the night without asking me anything back.
It made me realise something I’ve known but not been able to articulate until now.
Some of us are so crazy self-aware when we’re talking that we find it very hard to sustain conversations without panicing or feeling guilty or selfish. So we become the question askers, or we cut ourselves off more quickly than others. And then we wonder why we don’t connect very well with others.
The people that talk without consideration for others voices or opinions, they seem to end up with loads of friends, because they’re easy to hold a conversation with –
they’re happy to talk and entertain and be the center of attention.
Yet those of us who listen deeply and fear being listened to too long, we end up feeling lonely, having listened to so many and so rarely been asked the same questions back.
And when we do get the chance to talk, we relish it and get excited, but then freak out during or afterwards and end up
In the last couple of years my confidence and sense of self has grown to a point I never thought I would get to from my former insecure self, and as a result, people are interested in listening to me.
They can see that I value myself, so they figure I must be worth listening to. At least, that’s how I feel about other self-assured people.
So now when people ask me questions, I find that I love talking, way too much in fact.
My words are as verbose as my blog posts ;)
But it is ALWAYS accompanied by a background of “shutup Andrea you’re being selfish”. And I always feel guilty afterwards.
Does everyone feel like this? Even confident people who never have trouble making friends and making conversation?
Or is it just those of us that started out super insecure and have had to learn the skills of conversation and friendship the calculated, practiced way, rather than naturally?
I read a letter written by my Mum 20 years ago that said “at kindergarten Andrea was slow to make friends, and kept pretty much to herself. At primary school she was still finding it hard to make friends and used to tell me that nobody liked her and no one would play with her”.
I’ve become very curious lately –
what makes some people social masters from a young age and others socially awkward or reclusive? Click To Tweet
I’m yet to know the answer, but I think it has a lot to do with our level of self awareness and our ability to perceive ourselves from outside.
We all have that friend who can talk for hours uninterrupted without asking a single question back, nor once noticing that what they’re talking about is completely irrelevant to the listeners. The friend that will make you wait a minute while they work out the exact time it was that they had breakfast this morning, so that you don’t miss out on such a vital part of their
“My Day” story.
And we all know people who divert and get awkward anytime they’re asked a question.
In the former group, I think the case must be that their mind is so focussed on the details of their lives and stories at the time they’re speaking that they don’t analyse how anyone feels about what they’re saying, nor overthink it.
It must be great!
And in the latter group, our minds are so analytical that they dart all over the place making sure everyone is fine and that we’re looking good while not pissing anyone off or boring them.
Poor conversationalists from both camps both have problems detaching from the content of their minds.
To become a better conversationalist, (in my experience at least) learning mindfulness – the ability to hear your mind and watch your emotions without getting caught up in them nor reacting to them – is crucial.
Whether you’re an oversharer or an under sharer, whether you feel guilty if you ever talk too much or whether people avoid you because you talk too much… self awareness is what will change the game for you, as it has for me.