Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Chic Habits: Talking Less and Listening More
My last Chic Habits post was quite beneficial. Although I wasn't perfect at it, I noticed I did stop and think more about speaking in a positive, rather than a negative way, whether it was self-talk, speaking of others etc. A couple of times I spoke ill of others, but I think it was well-deserved. Is that a justification? Not perfect, but making the effort. This will be ongoing for me.
My other chic habit from last time was picking up and tidying as I go. I have been doing this more too. Not perfect again, but noticing and doing, more. As with all of my chic habits so far (perhaps with the exception of the early face-wash, I still can't get into that habit), I hope to keep them up as time goes on.
My next chic habit I want to focus on is:
Talking less, and being a better listener. I come from a family where the women are well-known for their talking prowess, and I am not joking. I'm really scared I will become like that too and I have asked my husband to tell me honestly if this starts being the case.
So in the meantime, I am trying to babble less, talk when I actually have something intelligent to say and not just fill a gap.
Also to consider what the other person is doing. I have spouted out a long-winded, one-sided conversation to my husband in the car and at the end of it when I get no response he snaps back into it and says 'sorry, I was just listening to that radio interview'.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this, was he too polite to say? Did I not notice him leaning into the radio speakers to hear over me? Should I have tested the water with a sample question? Was I just sitting there in the car going blah, blah, blah with every thought that ever came into my head spewing out of my mouth?
The listening better side of it should go hand-in-hand with talking less. I have a terrible habit of interrupting people when they're talking, it is to do with what they're talking about and adding to the conversation but I still do it, recognise it and then feel bad.
I got the shock of my life once when the person I was talking to stopped abruptly every time I spoke. And because I interject things, this was often. It was quite disconcerting and I haven't forgotten it. It felt like she was trying to show me up, but really she was just being polite by letting me speak. I still cringe when I think about that conversation.
I think it comes from growing up in a talking family (the female side, my dad talks about once every three months) - you have to get your words in where you can. If you didn't interject you'd never get your point across. So now when I'm talking with 'normal' people, I try to modify this.
I have also noticed this with others (people I'm not related to this time). There are some folk who simply like the sound of their own voice. They can happily speak monologue for thirty minutes plus (it feels like hour) and you literally will not have said one word. When you do, or ask a question, it's ridden over and ignored.
These people may wonder why they are often avoided by others, it's because the other person doesn't want to get 'caught' and 'trapped'! Please dear God shoot me if I ever become like this. The starting point is in my genes and I have to manage it.
So, in summary, I am attempting to undo 39 years of talking and listening behaviour. Wish me luck. Forgive me if I sound like a drama queen today.
If you'd care to join me, please let us know what chic habits you would like to bring into your life, either on your own blog or in the comments here.