I always thought that the art of making conversation is something everyone is born with. After all, how hard can it be to actually listen to another person, keep an open mind and respond accordingly? But I've realized that it is VERY difficult. There are some who are natural conversation killers. You can have three kinds of conversations:
- The person you're talking to actually understands what you're talking and responds relevantly. This is the ideal case.
- The person doesn't understand what you're saying but *thinks* that he/she understands. Half the time, they don't want to really see the meaning of what you're saying; they just want everything that you say to fit into their image of you. This conversation is bound to lead you nowhere because you'll hit a firewall called Presumptuous Ignorance. Most Customer Support people and many relatives belong to this set.
- The third variety is totally hopeless. The conversation is like one of those Shakespearean asides. Except instead of it being an "aside", unwary onlookers will be made scapegoats of this sudden eloquence. The topic will usually be tangential to the ongoing discussion. These people are totally untouched by the likes/dislikes/opinions/boredom of the crowd because they think the world should know of their brilliance. Telemarketers and a few pedantic, pompous specimens are an obvious example.
I am sure all of us get into each of those robes once in a while as our mood, context and surroundings dictate; but some people are permanently stuck in one particular type. I don't know which one is more irritating: the second or the third. Category 2 people are usually the insufferable know-alls of this world with tinted corneas. No matter what you say or do, they'll get you exactly wrong and propagate that wrong perception to the world. The third can be kind of amusing at times if you have the right sense of humour...:) You can tune off when you want to. When you return, you can give a vague smile and nod and they will be perfectly satisfied because all they wanted was an audience for a monologue!
But all in all, I've found that 95% of the conversations we have is utter nonsense because there is no giving, receiving and understanding. We stand from our own comfortable vantage points and try to get a view of everything right from where we stand; If something doesn't come into view, we simply ignore it. Jeez, what a boring prat I've become! And I wonder how many will be putting me in Category 2 or 3...:) So which one are you?