I’m A Sucker for Verbal Hostage Taking.

I’ve noticed in the last several years that I’ve met more and more individuals who love to talk about themselves. They seem mesmerized by what their saying and leave little or no room for a response. One of my acquaintances hardly takes a breath. I’ve often wondered if he carries an oxygen tank in case he runs out of air. He seems to have a tremendous need to inform me of every minute of his day starting with breakfast. The content is often heavy in the area of his work life. Since he’s a musician he wants me to know who he’s playing with , what kind of people have hired him, how long it will take, and how much equipment he has to set up. I have tried to interrupt with even the shortest phrase like “that’s nice”, to no avail. I could and have left the phone for a few minutes to do something around the house, only to return and find that he didn’t even know I was gone.

Another individual I know finds it necessary to inform me of every activity her children are engaged in, what they wore to school and what TV shows they watch. One conversation she had with me was a vivid and detailed description of her latest dental procedure , which was a root canal. She practically had enough information to perform one herself. I literally jumped in at one point and suggested she might want to go to dental school. There was not even a giggle. She actually agreed with me and went on to give me another fifteen minutes on her trip to the supermarket and the vegetables she bought that she read would be good for her brain. I really wanted to respond that perhaps she might consider buying some tape for her mouth, and some cement to fill the hole in her head, but I held back.

Oh, I know I could get off the phone with some lame excuse, but I keep hoping that I might get a chance to respond. Either that or I’m a sucker for verbal hostage taking. I really feel the reason some people do this, is because we’re in a culture where being busy is more valuable than having deep, meaningful conversations. They have forgotten how to listen or how to engage the listener.

Maybe the next time you talk to someone, you should periodically say “what do you think”. If they don’t answer you know their probably vacuuming or cleaning the toilet.

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