Last September I took my vacation from work and went to visit friends and family back in Chilliwack, and noticed something, mostly about myself but a bit with others as well. I never used to be much of a talker, but it seems some things change. Now I can talk and talk and just about never shut up, especially on certain subjects. Don’t misunderstand me, I still have quiet moments where I just don’t feel like talking, or if the subject matter doesn’t interest me, especially in a group setting where I’d rather just listen. But one on one, or even a group of three, I’ve noticed I’m a lot more vocal than I used to be.
With this however, something has caught my attention. One example is when I went to visit my sister for an evening. It had been more or less a year since I had seen her so we had much to discuss, and really only a few hours between putting her kids to bed and then going herself. So we talked about the many happenings in our lives, and I can’t say for certain who would have talked more, but it seems it may have been me. It’s not that my life is busier than hers or any such thing, but one thing leads to another and on and on it goes (sorry Lisa!).
There is something I realized a little afterwards. Conversation with others is good, great even, especially when we all hear about people just staring at their phones and losing the art of conversing, but when we DO have a conversation with another person, we must remember to listen at least as much as we speak. Some people love to talk and talk and sometimes it seems they don’t even realize they are still talking, but remember, conversation is a two-way street.
You may not remember what you were talking about with someone else, but if the other person was genuinely interested in what you had to say and really listened, there would only be good vibes afterwards and you would look forward to speaking with them again. Likewise if the person seemed bored and distracted, there’s not much incentive to keep going. I’ve had situations like the latter happen, and it’s really not much fun. I would have to say, however, it was partly my lack of conversational skills and self-confidence that really killed it before it went anywhere. Practice does help and I’ve pushed myself into talking more and getting out of my comfort zone, but there is still more to learn once we reach that next step.
In this day and age of texts and instant messages, don’t forget to have a one on one with people once in a while. It’s still the best way to connect and catch up. If you can’t visit face to face, give a call or skype/facetime with those you care about. I don’t get many calls so I always appreciate when someone takes the time to see how I’m doing and how life is going. I must remember to do likewise, and hopefully I’ll let the next person talk my ear off. Don’t forget: listening is a skill just as much as talking! So….listen away my friends!