As a child coming up, I used to see my mother and her friends have conversations around dinner and I was amused at how none of them could finish a sentence. As soon as mom would start to talk, the friend would inject with her own bit, then another would inject on her and the cycle continued. None of them raised their voice or got upset, yet the conversation continued for long periods of time. It was as if the interruptions were accepted, known and unable to break the flow of discussion. To this day I cannot fathom how people are able to communicate like that.
As I got older I began to realize that I had somehow been shifted into a category of people who are meant to be the sponge for others who feel the need to vent, brag or complain. If I am talking a lot it’s either because you’re an old friend who knows when to shut up when it’s my time to talk, or I have been drinking and a little more liberal with my discourse. Even then, I sometimes feel self-conscious for having said too much when I think back on it later in the day. You may call it an introvert thing but I view it as a trust thing; if you’re a selfish person, I want you to know as little about me as possible.
Listeners aren’t big fans of talkers, but talkers love listeners
I have come to the conclusion that there are 3 types of people in this world when it comes to conversation. There’s the talker, the listener and then that rare breed of person who plays both cards. Listeners aren’t big fans of talkers (unless we’re on a date), but talkers love listeners. Talkers need listeners because if listeners were not around you would have the scenario with my mom, except that the lot would be getting frustrated.
I was asked recently by a talker whether she could get better at listening and although this particular talker was more of that rare hybrid of talker/listener, I had to reply with a no. At least from my experience a natural talker will not be comfortable playing the silent role. It’s just as uncomfortable for you to come to me (the listener) and ask me to carry on about my day, or how life sucks, or how I could have been great and whatever else… I would probably fidget and run somewhere to hide.
Listeners find talkers to be selfish
A person who rattles on and on about their life and hardships will see it as venting to someone who loves and cares for them, but to the listener it may not be the same. See we get conditioned to harden our hearts when we run into talkers due to the experience of being burnt when we needed to vent and the person we vented to making it into a competition of “my life sucks so much more than yours”. We clam up when we realize what is going on, we mark that person down privately in our minds as a selfish big-mouth, and we smile and keep listening with hope of an escape. Talkers rarely see this because… well… they’re talking.
Think about it my talkative friends, do you wonder why your good buddy either cuts you off when you start or finds a way to move on when you have something important to tell them? It’s because either you or another person has refused them the same courtesy in the past. I can swear by this, I have one buddy who will literally keep talking about himself if you let him. Due to my success with maintaining my life, doing a few ventures, and refusing to complain about anything, he probably thinks my life is flawless. The few times I’ve expressed anything to him, it would somehow wind up on his life, what chick he’s banging or a complaint about his boss. That particular friend makes red flags go off like a bomb warning whenever I meet someone that talks a lot, and it explains why I am as reserved as I am with people.
Which one are you? Listener or talker.
If you are a listener you will know immediately that you are. It’s simple, you find yourself communicating with one word answers or “mhm” most of a conversation due to the other person complaining, whining or bragging about their life. For the talkers it isn’t so easy; many of you believe yourselves to be listeners when in reality you’re mistaken. Do you find the need to show how much harder it is for you in order to make that downtrodden person feel better? Do you feel that it’s important to vent and not bottle up your feelings because you might explode? Then chances are you are a talker.
If my article has a negative slant towards the talkative out there, the reason is because I am a listener. We bottle up feelings; we don’t trust people and we lock away our hearts until you prove worthy to hear it. If you want to prove yourself worthy then shut the hell up when we talk. Let us talk, hear us out and then inject your opinion after… it will let us know that you heard what we have to say. Anything else and you may as well forget it; you can blame the truly selfish people in the world for making it this way.
So can a talker get better at being a listener? No, no they cannot but they can get better at “listening”.