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You Don’t Say

As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed speaking with people and telling them all about myself and my world. I relish the prospect of meeting someone and sharing my adventures or mundane experiences with them. Sometimes, and I’m not sure why, they want to tell me about their life, but alas, surely mine is more important… no?

Gift of the gab, verbal diarrhea, flowing tongue, logomania or whatever the reference is, many of us suffer from an uncanny ability to go on, and on, about ourselves. Usually I am able to read the body language of the person I am conversing with, and pick up on their eyes shifting sideways, albeit only a split second, or nodding without really taking in my precious words, or even dozing off right in front of me. These are definite cues for me to zip it.

No doubt many of you have been in conversations which have been very one sided, and not necessarily your side. Quite often these situations arise when you are in a rush, and the person opposite you doesn’t stop chatting. It’s certainly not in you to be rude and walk away, or ask them to stop talking, so typically we, as Canadians, politely listen, nod in agreement, make a few comments and eventually depart, wondering what it was they actually said.

When I was young, I heard somewhere that each person has a certain number of words, which they can use throughout their lifetime. Once they are used up, you are no longer able to speak. Needless to say, this frightened me to no end. I found difficulty in sleeping that night and when I woke the next morning, I vowed to save my words. In fact, I took it so far as to not speak at all. My parents, throughout the rest of my life, remarked on how wonderful those three days were.

When I get really excited about something, an uncanny need for me to share the information arises within. Good luck to the next person I meet. My enthusiasm bubbles over, and I relay my information at such a pace, it is impossible for them to interject. Are they interested? Of course they are. How could they not be? Aren’t they?

I think I will start to listen more and maybe chat less, if in fact that is at all possible. Other people may have points of view that are more interesting than mine… no, really?

My point of this narrative is to simply suggest we give others an opportunity to speak, as they too, may have something to say. All too often we cut friends off, because we assume our information is more important than theirs. Remember, we have two ears and one mouth; listen twice as much as you speak.

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