Hey there folks!
I would like to believe that in my years on this earth I have learned a few things about the human condition. I pride myself on my ability to listen and take notice of my surroundings, which I feel offers me a fair amount of insight regarding people and their motivations. One of the more interesting activities in my mind is how people communicate with one another.
While speaking with my cousin the other day she mentioned how much she did not like talking to people who blathered on about things she could care less about. I instantly understood what she meant, but then I thought about just how slippery a statement that was. If everyone quit talking about things that others were not interested in, just how much conversation would that eliminate? I mean I am not a person that speaks very often, and I tend to like things that others find stupid, strange, or disturbing. So, if I stopped talking about things that people did not care about I don’t think I would speak very much at all.
As I tossed these ideas around in my mind I began to realize that the importance of listening to people drone on about things you are not interested in relates to the importance of the person doing the droning. Sacrificing this bit of time to engage someone in their interest helps to facilitate the relationship you have with the person. Thus, if I care about you and want you in my life I am going to humor your rants about whatever nonsense happens to be falling out of your mouth right now.
This of course made me start thinking about my opinions on listening. There are two kinds of people in this world, those that listen and those that are waiting for their turn to speak. I am a listener and have come to discover that I am a rare breed. The whole idea of waiting for your turn to talk plays into people droning on about things you or I could care less about. Then I wondered, just how much of our personal communication is driven by ego?
My mind immediately flashed to a time, several years ago, when I was working in an electronic assembly plant. I absolutely hated this job, it was mind numbing and tedious and everyday I went to work all I could imagine doing was getting into one of the fork lifts and causing as much mayhem as possible. At the time I was living with my then fiancé; so, I prepared this elaborate speech in my mind to explain my hatred for the job and why it was terrible. Not even a few sentences into my grand speech she just looked at me and said, “if you want to quit your job, just quit your job you don’t need to explain it to me”. At that moment I realized all I was looking for was her validation. I already knew I was going to quit the job, I just wanted her approval. Hence, I blathered on about things she didn’t care about.
Another great example are those people for whom everything has to be a fight. They will be mulling a decision over in their head and ask for your opinion. Now this will go one of two ways; first, you can agree with them and provide no resistance and they will remain locked in their internal struggle, or second, you can provide the resistance and let them know you disagree, thereby giving them something to fight against and relieving their internal struggle as they are now focused on proving you wrong. Either way you have just been made a pawn in their argument that you probably cared nothing about.
In both of these instances the person initiating the communication is not interested in an open exchange of ideas and feelings. They have an established agenda and are simply looking for someone to play the part they need to justify to themselves their chosen course of action. Thus, making communication an action that could bring us together, but is just as often used to impose our ego on the world around us. Which means from time to time some of us are just left sitting here listening to people go on and on about things we could really care less about.