The definition of conversation is "the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words." An exchange between two or more people.
In a lifetime, we have hundreds and hundreds of conversations. Some memorable, some not, and some are just conversations. But what happens when you met someone where the conversation is painful. It could be for many reasons. In my case I am shy and have a hard time carrying on a conversation because of my nerves. Which makes for an awkward time. But there are other times when you find yourself hard pressed to get a word in and that's what I want to talk about today.
Having a conversation with some of the women in my family is a complicated, frustrating experience. We interrupted constantly, interpret your sentences and fill the gaps with our own preconceived notions, or we outright don't listen at all to what you are saying and just keep chatting about blah, blah, blah. There is no exchange, there is one person overruling the entire conversation with themselves. Now didn't I just say that I am a shy and awkward conversationalist? Yes, I did and I am, but get to know me and suddenly this is where we're at.
My blog is a great example of this, actually. I am terrible at speaking to my audience and my entire focus is on me. I try to end with an engaging question at the end of each post, but the fact of the matter is I tend to write for myself, as if I am still writing in a private journal. I am not a great networker, I'm not a hustling #girlboss and that's okay. There are definitely times and places where it does need to be a me, me situation, my blog is such a space. But if we were to met in person, for a cup of hot chocolate and I spent the entire time chatting about my latest blog post and didn't allow you a word in edgewise. It won't surprise me if we didn't become friends. Who wants to be friends with the self absorbed?
I look at the older women in my family and I see the loneliness, the revolving door of friends, and I see their habits and then I look at me.
At me. The person who interrupts her husband so casually, that he now just stares, blinking, until I clue in and let him finish his own thought. It is amazing how wrong my interpretation of his sentences are and how great the conversation is when I don't do this. I use to pride myself on my great listening and observation skills. I think since distancing myself from the older women in my family I picked up on their talking habits and have flown with it.
So the big question now becomes, where do I go from here? I don't want it to be a me, me situation. I want to connect with people, share thoughts and ideas, be inspired. I want to become a better conversationalist and I am asking for your help.
What do you want from a conversation?
What do you want when meeting with a stranger?
How are you at conversations? And do you have any tips on how to better myself in a conversation?
This is a post where I have really really struggled with how to end it. Without practice, it's hard to improve.