Some people talk too much. You know who you are.
But over-talking isn’t the problem so much as under-listening. Next time your co-worker asks what you did this weekend, try something different. Rather than treating her to a detailed blow-by-blow of your fishing trip, focus on her weekend. Ask questions. Engage in her life. If she tells you about attending her best friend’s wedding, this is NOT your cue to tell her about the crazy DJ you hired to play your own wedding. Be aware of your tendency to keep pointing the spotlight back at you. If you are ever in doubt: talk less, listen more. You’re not going to offend anyone by showing a genuine interest in her life.
Some people don’t talk enough. You know who you are.
But under-talking isn’t the problem so much as over-listening. Next time your neighbor catches you at the mailbox and wants to tell you all about his latest lawnmower purchase, make an excuse and get the hell out of there. Or next time your co-worker insists on giving you a blow-by-blow of his latest fishing trip, at least give yourself permission to check out mentally. Smile and nod while you plan your grocery list. Resist your tendency to be polite and engage. You’re absolutely allowed to say, “I’m sorry, I really hate to cut you off, but I’m running way behind today.” Maybe you don’t exactly want the spotlight pointed at you all the time, but that doesn’t mean you have to provide an audience for those who do.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.