Having a conversation is an art, a give and take between two people. Even the simplest of howdy-do’s in the grocery store involves the art of conversation. Many times, our goal to have a conversation with a loved one falls short when we have different skills, goals and intents. Our conversation styles are all different and when we have a hard time of meeting in the so-called middle ground, that’s where problems occur.
We all have ways we can improve our chatting styles, but I believe that when we come from a heartlit place, doing our best, we can see/feel/have a great conversation no matter how our partner is behaving. It takes two as we all know to have a conversation for a one-sided conversation, if not listened to with a loving heart, falls on deaf ears and can have the opposite effect on the listener that the speaker intends. Have you ever had a conversation that was one-sided? Have you ever felt misunderstood? Has someone taken your silence for something more than mindful consideration before you speak?
So here are a few questions to ask yourself for we all have trouble with talking sometimes:
Do you find yourself speaking with thoughtfulness?
Or do you just blab whatever you are thinking without restraint?
Do you refuse to connect?
Do you shout and then forget what you have said?
Do you try to speak in a normal tone with calm intention?
Do you drone on and not get to the point?
Do you feel a time restraint and therefore tell it all without preamble?
Do you take time to pause to see if your listener is following you?
Do you not stop for fear of what the other person may say?
Do you stay quiet and not engage in the conversation?
Do you interrupt when a person is speaking?
Do you follow along with their thoughts?
Do you take off on a tangent in your own mind and forget to keep listening?
Are you more concerned with what you have to say?
Are you truly feeling what the person is telling you?
Are you numbed by the conversation or enraged by it?
Do you let your emotions get in the way of listening?
Do you let your emotions get in the way of speaking?
At times, all of us find ourselves in the situations above, doing what is our first instinct even when we realize that it may not be what is beneficial for the conversation. If any of the above touched a nerve with you, then perhaps you need to review your conversation skills.
Our childhood experiences many times are our first instinct when it comes to our conversation skills. Come from a family of yellers and it is easy to drop into that form of conversation when we are angry. Past experience in receiving harsh words in conversation, can either make someone repeat that or hide away in silence. Either way, there’s a distinct tear in relationships when we find ourselves going to either extreme. It takes patience and practice to have a conversation whereby each individual is comfortable in sharing and in being heard. There’s a loving give and take, a learning and a trust that is inherent when we converse with others. The finesse involved in making a conversation beneficial involves both parties meeting in the middle no matter what their first reactional conversational style is and that’s where it’s sometimes hard to navigate muddy waters.
We are all growing everyday with new skills being added to our repertoire of conversation. As we navigate life, we can drop what doesn’t serve us and add to what does. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes trust. The best part is that when two people want to do their parts in making having a conversation a loving experience, it certainly is possible. And that my friends, is the best part of all!