I have always had difficulty talking to people about things. As I’ve watched it over the years I’ve noticed things as to why. In general, it seems to show aspects of the American character. When dealing with foreignors I generally didn’t have these problems.
But, for me, it would lead to a lot of problems and even social phobias. Because of these problems I’ve developed a fear of being misunderstood. I also always feel that I have to ‘hurry’ to get my conversation in. But, it doesn’t matter, as no one really cares anyways.
Some of the qualities that make conversations difficult include:
- The fact that no one listens. People seem to be listening but, I’ve found, few are. I found that I would speak about something and find out later that no one was listening.
- Everyone seems to talk at the same time. I remember a time that, whenever I spoke, everyone else would speak.
- When I speak some people speak over me. They often do this loudly. I know that, for some people, this is even a demonstration of ‘power’.
- Its a competition to be heard. A lot of talking to people is nothing but competing to get a word in . . . and that’s just a word! Try getting whole concepts in . . .
- If you stop for a second, in a conversation, someone will start talking. Because of this I have developed a habit of trying to continuously be talking without a break. This, though, is not easy as sometimes you need to stop and reflect how to word things.
- Everyone wants to hear their thoughts only. In general, people seldom take other peoples thoughts into consideration.
- There is a tendency for people to put words in your mouth. There have been many times when I didn’t even finish my sentence and people had conclusions about what I was talking about! . . . of course, they were wrong.
- People will only listen to some things under certain conditions. A good example is when a guy I knew kept wondering where a certain Halloween custom originated from. I told him. The next day he mentions it again. I told him again. The next day he mentions it again. I told him again. The next day he’s listening to the radio and he says, “oh, that’s where it came from”. It was the same thing I have been telling him daily for the past three days! It took the ‘authority’ of the mass media to make it ‘legitimate’. My saying it wasn’t good enough. Often, with Americans, it takes the ‘authority’ of the mass media to make something important.
I tend to feel that a lot of this behaviour originates from mass media and watching TV. Basically, people treate a conversation as if they are watching a commercial. If they disagree or don’t care, they just ‘think over’ it. They do the same with conversation. Not only that, people have to be continuously ‘entertained’, just like a commercial has to be, or they won’t listen. I’ve noticed that the people who are listened to are the ones who have some ‘entertainment’ quality to them. This shows that, for many people, conversation is not about talking about things but as a means to pleasing themselves, sort of like an entertainment.
Ive learned, over the years, that there are times to just ‘give up’ with some people and situations. It’s a waste of time to continue. When I sense these situations I just stop talking and will often leave. It’s best to do this as, in almost all my conversations, what has been the benefit of what I said? To be frank, talking to people is a waste of time. It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t change anyone. It doesn’t affect anyone. This is why I don’t talk to people much anymore.
There was a time when I used to love to talk to people about things. That was when I was younger. But that is a rare event now, to find someone who will ‘talk’ about something. It seems that, as I got older, the need to ‘talk’ in people has faded. It’s like when people got older, with jobs and that, they only wanted conversation as a form of ‘entertainment’. The desire to discuss and talk about things was killed, probably, by the ‘responsibility’ of living. Social relations became a form of ‘recreation’, not an issue of ‘discussing things’. Not only that, when ‘discussing things’ with older people, it becomes an avenue for their frustration about life. It becomes a way they “vent” about life. Most certainly, to ‘discuss things’, I’ve found, requires a degree of ability to look at things plainly and objectively. These are abilities that are amazingly lacking in people.
What all this means is that its not that easy to get into conversations with people about things. It’s something I’ve struggled with most of my adult life.