The Lost Art of Conversation

Posted: December 7, 2011 in frustration, moaning, whinge
Me, trying to have a conversation.

Conversation happens. It happens every day in every place where humans dwell. In some ways it happens in places were humans don’t dwell, but that’s neither here nor there; it’s human conversation that concerns me at the  moment.

I’m sure I don’t need to insult your intelligence by defining conversation; suffice to say that if you’d care to post a comment below this entry then I’d be happy to engage you in it. I quite like conversation – I find it’s the best way to talk to people.

Unfortunately, not everybody seems to feel the same way.

Conversation is not the harsh thuds of a battering ram hitting the gates of a fortress. It’s not a fist slamming into a face, or a car crashing into a wall. So why treat it like one?

Conversation is a dance.  Sometimes it’s a slow waltz. Sentence. Pause. Reply. Question. Pause. Answer. One, two, three, one, two, three.  Sometimes it races along like a Charleston. Sometimes it goes a bit ballistic and everyone looks at you like you’re a drunk uncle at a wedding, lost and unable to keep up.

The problem with a dance is that you need a suitable partner. I’m no conversational Fred Astaire, but I flatter myself I know a few steps. Lately though I’ve been left feeling that I may as well hang up my shoes, move off to a cabin in the woods and never dance again.

Over the past few weeks it’s become increasingly evident that either the art of conversation is on the wane or I’m badly out of practice. Both in work and out of it, I’ve been getting quite frustrated at conversations that start out promising and come to crashing, jarring, painful halts.  

Perhaps (probably) I’m just growing increasingly intolerant. Every time I’m interrupted, it’s like a heel jabbing sharply down on my toes. Every time someone doesn’t bother to listen, it’s like I’m leading where they have no interest in following.

Over the past few weeks I’ve become a pent-up ball of frustrated hot air. My sentences are cut short in their prime, leaving me gasping like a fish out of water. I find myself repeating myself and repeating myself and I find myself repeating myself ad nauseum.

Come on, people. Stop interrupting me. Stop shouting at me. Stop ignoring me and then getting frustrated because you didn’t hear what I’d told you. That’s not how conversation works. It’s all about give and take.

I just want to dance. Is that so wrong?

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