This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Some people call it "dumping"

 Two of the worst things one can do to another in a conversation is interrupt and not listen.  This last one can happen anywhere but, in fact, happens a lot on the phone.  Sometimes, one of the people is doing something else while having the conversation.  Don't fool yourself, the other can sense that distraction even though they can't see you.  People sometimes think that they can sort of half listen, or listen superficially, or multi-task or just listen to key words and get the gist of what the other is saying.  It doesn't work.  It can't be done.  The result is, either the communication is completed with misunderstanding or pretend understanding or, it takes more time due to one having to correct the other, i.e., "No, I said, Ms Smith not Ms Jones." 
Time (not enough of it) is often the reason for this attempt to have a conversation, an exchange of information or a visit without really paying full attention.  It's a kind of energy conservation or, attempt at that.  It's an effort to be efficient.  Often it turns out to be less efficient than if both had actually paid attention in the first place since things have to be repeated.

Interrupting is another matter, and, very annoying.  If you really want to make a point and you get cut off, you will have to wait, hold your focus, respond to the deviation and then, bring the thread of the conversation back to where you were going so that you can make your point.  
Why do people interrupt?  The not wanting to really listen, as discussed above, is one reason.  Being impatient is another.  Often it has to do with being, not in an exchange, but doing a diatribe.  In other words, the person who interrupts is only listening to the other enough to be reminded of something or to use the other's offering as a jumping off point for another idea of their own that they want to express.  They are not truly engaged in an exchange. What they want to do is discharge, rant, or lecture.  That is a one-sided type of communication.

A real conversation is mostly made up of listening and responding, on both parts.

In some cases the reason for not listening is deeper than just feeling rushed.  It may be defensive; possibly the person is trying to to avoid hearing difficult information, maybe they don't want to be influenced, or there may be another personal reason.  As the reader who wants to learn about yourself, this is where it gets interesting.  Do you ever notice yourself pretending to listen or politely faking it or doing the interrupting thing?  You can self-reflect on this:  Ask yourself why.
As for those who fake listen to you, you already know that it is tiringA good conversation should leave you feeling fine, not weary, not annoyed, not vaguely discontent.

~Rather than enervate you, a good conversation should invigorate you.  You should leave feeling intact (boundaries not violated).  Neutral is okay but if you leave feeling enhanced, that's a conversation wherein both people were real (open, honest, congruent); that is the stuff of emotional intimacy.  You should not leave feeling depleted and if you suspect you are leaving others a little worse for the wear, it might be enlightening to put some attention on why.~ 

(What kind of conversation do you think the people in the picture are having?)

Have you had experiences like those described in this post?

A suggested post if you wish to think further on this topic: 
and there are also 10 more, enlightening posts on this subject of communication. 


  1. Nothing is worse than attempting to talk on the phone with someone, and they are distracted. They are "hearing" but not actually "listening." I can sense it and it's frustrating. In face-to-face conversations is where I mess up with communication. I tend to have alot of one-sided conversations. Sometimes I can be selfish and do alot of talking. On the other hand, sometimes I don't say enough to keep the conversation going. I continually work to improve my communication skills although it's hard work.

    1. Bettering your communication style IS hard work as are most personal growth efforts. Worth it though! Saves misunderstandings, keeps you more grounded in reality, and reduces loneliness. Thank you, Bama Psych for sharing your own challenges here!

  2. Not knowing what the other person is doing while on the phone is one of the reasons that I don't talk on it very much. I prefer an in-person conversation where I can see their body language as they speak to me, which will often give more clues as to how they feel about the conversation rather than their actual words. It stresses me out to not have that when on the phone. I can also sense when someone has tuned out... Sometimes I even test my suspicion and will stop talking in the middle of a sentence and see if the other person notices. I always hope to be proven wrong, but it hasn't happened yet!

    Interrupting, although it's almost always rude, can sometimes be self-protective, in my opinion. For instance, if someone is going on an abusive tirade, throwing out unfair accusations, I think it's appropriate to interrupt the person and try to put a stop to it.

  3. Your addition about boundaries in your 2nd paragraph is pertinent; I should have included that as an exception so, thanks, imwakingup, for adding that.