One-Sided Conversation

by Ally Harding, 7:00 AM
There's an author I follow on Facebook named Jane Green.

 She's written tons of best selling novels such as

to name a few. 
She posted this as her status and it really hit home. Theo and I talk about all the time how as we're getting older we're realizing how conversations with others are becoming one-sided. Where you're in a conversation with someone and the whole conversation topic ends up being about the other person and then they don't ask anything about you in return.  I wouldn't even call it a conversation really. More like you listening to someone talk about themselves. There is no connection there. If I feel I'm talking to someone and can tell I'm talking a little too much about myself I always stop and ask the other person how their day is going or whatever to get the conversation off me. 
Enough about me

Here's Jane's post:

Last week, I went to a dinner party. I knew a few people there, but found myself sitting next to a woman for dinner who I had never met. She turned and introduced herself, and we spent the next hour merrily chatting away.

I asked her about where she lived, how she had settled there. I was particularly interested in her interior design business, and how she got started. I heard about her children, she laughed about the hell of being a soccer Mom. 

I learned where she met her husband, and how. It was, and she told me all about the not-so-good matches. 

After about an hour, a natural lull seemed to enter the conversation, and she went back to eating her dinner, with a sweet smile on her face.

I sat there, quietly eating mine, and thought this: I have just spent the past hour with this very nice woman, and I know all about her life, her work, her husband and kids.

This is what she knows about me: my name is Jane, and, given my accent, I must be English.

It wasn't that I wanted to regale her with tales about a bestselling author - I very rarely talk about work in social situations unless it comes up naturally or someone already knows. It just would have been nice to have had the tiniest bit of interest shown in my life, as a matter of politeness, if nothing else.

Sadly, I have noticed this happening more and more - people who are charming, delightful, good company, but are so wrapped up in talking about themselves, it doesn't occur to them to reciprocate.

The problem with a one-sided conversation is you never get beyond small talk. You can't. It's impossible to make a human connection on any real level when the conversation is entirely one-way. I may think I can get beyond the small-talk by asking lots of questions, but when nothing comes back, when there's no dialogue, no interest whatsoever in me, we will never connect.

And that saddens me. I long to connect. I think we all do, it's part of being human, and certainly essential given how isolated we have become with the advent of technology. We tell ourselves we're more connected than ever before, with facebook, and iphones, and technology, but that isn't connection - that's communication, which is a very different thing.

There is nothing I love more than meeting someone new and finding a deep, soul connection. That's how I have gathered my closest friends - we met and got beyond the small talk; we met and shared our lives, were mutually interested, found ourselves bonding on an emotional level that felt rare, and real.

I do believe that we are living in an age more narcissistic than ever before, but let's be mindful that it isn't all about us; that however interesting we may be, however great our stories, other people have stories too, if we stay mindful enough to ask.

Be present. Be mindful. Be curious, and be kind. You will be amazed at the response.
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  1. Wow. This really hits home for me. A certain person (coworker) comes to mind instantly. Thanks for sharing! And for the reminder that we all need to share a little less sometimes :)

  2. This was one of my first hesitancies with starting a blog! I thought it was a little narcissistic. However, it's reading other people's blog (like yours!) and learning about others that makes it so enjoyable!


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