My Lack of Conversational Style

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Yesterday was my bi-weekly meeting with Sal, my therapist, and I had somewhat of a major breakthrough. It was more because of something he said rather than one of those “aha!” moments but it’s still one of the most important realizations I’ve had this year. He read several entries of my blog over the past couple of weeks and asked me why I don’t talk the way that I write. In my writing I’m very opinionated and confident whereas in my speech, it might sound strange to those of you who have never met me, I never state an opinion and remain ambiguous on everything because I’m that afraid of confrontation.

My lack of conversational skill is something that I’ve been aware of my whole life but I was never able to put my thumb on what exactly was wrong with me! I watched other people have intense, even positively intense, discussions with one another and I’ve never had that for myself. Conversations with people whom I’ve known even for years usually amount to “how was your day”, “good”, “okay talk to you soon”. Deeper conversations with good friends are really just them talking about themselves and me listening while occasionally saying “yup”.

I’m still not sure exactly what it is. It isn’t fear that causes my silence; I genuinely have no thoughts while I’m listening to other people. It’s like I’m so focused on what they’re saying and trying to understand where they’re coming from that my brain has no input on the matter at all. I suppose that this is what people mean when they say I’m a “good listener”. In the instances where I am thinking while someone is talking, it’s always because I’ve tuned them out accidentally. Once their line of thought has ended, I’m able to collect my thoughts and give a brief reflection on what they’ve said but it’s nothing like what I write here. I think that’s why I attract so many selfish, borderline narcissistic people. Our relationships are always one-hundred-percent about them.

So that’s going to be my focus moving forward. I have no idea how I’m going to become more opinionated or “speak as I write” as my therapist put it, but I’m going to have to figure it out if I want to grow. It’s not that I don’t have ideas; if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that I have no shortage of ideas and opinions, I just don’t think about them when other people are around. I’m sure it’s a learned behavior from always being shut down by people in my youth. I was always told I was stupid, gay, a loser, etc. when I raised my own opinions. I have a lot more confidence than I used to, though. I know that I am smarter than a lot of people, my life has been full of proof of that recently: straight A’s in college, endless promotions at every job I’ve had, the ability to pick up new hobbies and become relatively masterful in a matter of weeks… I’m not an idiot.

Now to help everyone else see that.

19 thoughts on “My Lack of Conversational Style

  1. Thank you for sharing – it’s good for you to have a focus going forward with your therapy, and so important that you got your aha! moment. Get rid of those narcissists in your life, they don’t deserve your listening if they can reciprocate!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. God’s opinion of you is the only one that matters. He’s crazy about you and is cheering you on even as you work though the “garbage” you’ve been through. It all is part of your unique story. Ask him to show you just how much you matter to him.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is fascinating… I think my husband has much the same listening style. He genuinely is processing speech as he hears it, like a computer. There is a long pause after he hears something. Sometimes this is taken for lack of interest or negative response but in fact it’s usually because he’s still processing the “input” in an analytical fashion. It’s not because he’s “slow” either; he has a brilliant mind.

    I think if you want to speak like you write then probably you do have to “tune out” more and become more “narcissistic,” lol. That’s the way most of the socially functioning world works. ;))

    All semi-joking aside, another idea would be to start a (dating) relationship through writing. I don’t know how or where that would work exactly, it just occurred to me now -— i.e. maybe you should celebrate your quietude and just run with it; that kind of line of thought. For example on WordPress, maybe there are other bloggers like you who are equally quiet in speech and good listeners, also interested in forming a more meaningful/intimate relationship. I wonder if there would be a way to socialize with them. Maybe in a separate blog (of your creation) or something. Or via this one! :))

    Just random thoughts… sorry for the ramble. I’m a lot like this in speech as well. (Ah, my poor hubbie. :))

    Thanks a lot for sharing this, it really was insightful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that sounds exactly like what I do! Starting a relationship through writing is an interesting idea. I’ve tried the online dating thing off and on… haven’t had much luck but this will be the first time fully sober so who knows. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool. I know you’ve mentioned dating apps… just to be clear, I wasn’t meaning those. Although I don’t know how they work, I imagine from what my friend has told me (she is always on Tindr) that it’s pretty chat-based and not long-form writing. I was thinking more letter-writing or blog-post-style.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “I think that’s why I attract so many selfish, borderline narcissistic people. Our relationships are always one-hundred-percent about them.”
    Oooh. Dingdingding.
    I’m a little too confrontational, lol, and I once dated a yes-man, who drove me crazy. There has to be a middle ground somewhere. I hope you find it, but don’t do it to prove anything to anyone. I promise you: people are too self-absorbed to care. No one’s sitting around marveling over someone else’s IQ.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, I used to be a total pushover like it sounds like guy you dated was. I learned to at least stand up for myself as an adult I just don’t share my opinions openly the way I do when I’m writing.

      Funny you mentioned that last thing, I was just telling someone today that they shouldn’t worry about saying embarrassing things because nobody will remember in 20 seconds. They are only worried about themselves. lol

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Perhaps you need to have a group of intelligent but open-minded people that you get together with regularly to talk about the issues of the day and exchange ideas, even ideas not everybody agrees on, without anyone’s getting mad and storming out. 😉
    You may find that next Saturday in Port Huron. 🙂 I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Really interesting self reflection – you’re right it will have come from being shut down in your youth and I bet taking on a caring role instead of being cared for? Great you’ve found your voice writing and you write so well – I think you’ll find lovely people who want to listen to your ideas and share theirs – reciprocity is such a nice thing – def ditch the narcissists! X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting!!! I’m the opposite. The way I write is the way I talk… for the most part. I do reference a thesaurus when I find myself repeating the same words. I can say “awesome” 47 times in a row during a voice convo, but when it’s repeated in text, I feel the need to switch it up.
    You have a lot of great things to say and life experiences worth sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am an introvert, so I am not always outspoken. One on one I will talk your ear off. In groups of people especially loud people I usually won’t say much. Not because I don’t want to but sometimes people don’t slow down long enough to take a breath. So I guess I am a better listening like you.

    I spent years in a toxic relationship with someone who put me down every time I would speak. He would make comments like ”just sit there and look pretty.” or ”women are to been seen not heard.”

    I also had an unpleasant experience on another blog. I would comment and the blog owner would respond to everyone except me. And sometimes the readers of the blog would answer my question instead of the blog owner. Or the readers would attack other readers.

    So I would try to be extra careful how I would word things so I wouldn’t upset anyone. Most of the time I felt ignored. I don’t follow that blog anymore it was toxic and made me upset.

    Since then I hesitate making comments on other blogs.

    And when I do receive comments on my blog sometimes I think the worst. I don’t even read the comment right away. Instead, I think to myself what if I don’t know how to respond? Then finally I read the comments and so far they have been pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “And when I do receive comments on my blog sometimes I think the worst.” I feel the same way! Especially if it’s something where I’ve expressed a strong opinion rather than just made a flippant post about nothing. I see that I received a comment and immediately my thoughts go to “oh great someone is about to attack me” because everywhere else online that has been my experience. So far this place has been welcoming, I’m sorry you had a bad experience. You won’t get that treatment from me.

      Liked by 1 person

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