Just because you have something to say, it doesn’t always need to be heard.
I’ve been meaning to jump back in on Medium for the past couple of weeks. I assumed I was able to write a post every week. Well, guess what? I had a busy month, and my laptop happened to fail me. Yes, it’s TMI (too much information), but I like to share bits and pieces of my life.
Okay, so jumping back to what I want to talk about in this post. I’m a listener and what that means is I prefer listening over talking. I guess that’s one of the reasons why people love to tell me about their stories and secrets or even the tiniest detail about their minds. Don’t get me wrong, I am a listener, but I’m not a conversation garbage bin.
If you can’t tell the difference when communicating with others, please record a conversation between you and others and listen to it repeatedly to see what you were saying. Are you just throwing random garbage conversations at others, or are you making meaningful connections?
Let’s put “shop talk” to the side for now because it’s a bit more complex than your daily conversation with friends and family. I have a few friends and families with a certain degree of “social awkwardness” or cannot socialize with others with common senses. They take on the oddest approach when joining the conversation or blurt out random rude comments, but they think it’s part of being humorous.
I tried to dig deeper down into these folks’ minds to figure out the whys and hows. The most frequent answer I received from them was, “Well, why can’t I express what’s on my mind? Is it wrong to say anything that comes to my mind?”. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but I’m still going to say yes, it’s terrible when it’s in front of people who care for you.
Blurring out your thoughts means you probably didn’t think about the context of what you are about to say may be suitable at that moment, or you forgot to add what we call a “filter” to your context. I’m not saying you should treat your thoughts like a delicate piece of art, and you need to present them nicely for others to view them without criticizing you. But consider the people that are listening to you. They may or may not need to know what is on your mind. It’s YOUR job to identify or juggle your thoughts to see what should be shared and what shouldn’t.
I find that people with that type of mindset tend to be selfish or egocentric. They only want to share without thinking about whether if the person listening to them needs it. A conversation is a two-way lane. If you find yourself talking without getting any responses or acknowledgement, you probably did something wrong.
The weirdest thing about these types of people is that they never seem to think it’s their fault. They always find an excuse or a way out of it and somehow hypnotize themselves into believing that it’s because others are too boring or ignorant. Well, I hate to break it to you all. That’s not the case.
There’s a couple of methods you can see if you are one of these people:
- Your friends and family do not or barely talk to you about their personal issues or secrets that they don’t share with others?
- You cannot remember the last “deep” or “meaningful” conversation you had with others within the recent year.
- Are you a conversation killer? Does the conversation immediately ends after you have spoken?
- Do most people talk to you with a meet and greet attitude? “How are you? It’s so nice to see you! Let’s grab lunch next time?”
- You always find yourself being the last one talking during a group conversation.
- You can’t remember the last time someone had called you to talk about things that mattered to them. (i.e. relationship problems, job issues, life struggles)
If you score:
1 to 2: You’re fine. You may be insensitive to specific topics or just not that interested in other people’s business.
3 to 4: You’re very close. You better start thinking about what you’ve done or said that your friends and family can’t communicate with you on a deeper level.
5 to 6: Stop treating people like they’re your conversation garbage bin. There’s an apparent reason why people that are close to you can’t even communicate with you. You’re at the level where you need to STOP expressing everything on your mind and START listening to others.
Hey, it’s okay if you don’t want to make adjustments. Like my old man, he’s nearly 70, and he’s at the age where he can’t change any more. The truth is, the older you get, those that are close to you will fade away from your daily social life. Your friends and family only have that much tolerance for the way you talk.
Everyone wants to be heard and understood. You are not the only one. It becomes excruciating to be the one that always ends up being the conversation garbage bin. If you care for your close ones, maybe start thinking about what you can do for them instead.
It’s a give-and-take. Don’t just take it for granted.