Friday, November 6, 2009

Jabber Jaw

I like to talk. At great length. To whomever about whatever. The art of conversation is not dead, it's just that some people are lousy artists.

Rarely do I find myself without the words to say. I can have a conversation with a complete stranger just as easily as an old friend. I also take great pleasure in throwing out words and phrases that people haven't heard before. I'm obsessed with sounding like I have the vernacular of a cool character in a movie. I say what's on my mind and sometimes I'm a bit too honest for my own good. I think this throws people off and sometimes they think I'm trying to be funny when the truth is I just don't care. I hate being back into a corner by a string of little white lies, so I come out with the truth up front so people always now where I'm coming from.

I think of talking to a new person as a challenge. It's not like I'm a remarkable person. My job is only mildly interesting and my hobbies are a bit too nerdy to appeal to most audiences. I think I know just a little bit about enough things that I can keep a conversation afloat and not look like a complete idiot. Some people mistake my chatterbox ways for cockiness or confidence. I think the truth is I just enjoy hearing myself talk.

Most great conversationalists will agree an important strength is to know when to stop talking. I'm pretty good at it. Usually. I'll admit, there are times when I'm on a roll at a social gathering where it can be hard to shut me up. I yammer on thinking I'm the life of the party, thinking everyone's hanging on my every word. I like to think people think I'm interesting, but I think sometimes they're just too polite to tell me to shut up.

It should go without saying that listening is one of the most important parts to the conversation. All participants should be equally involved. Otherwise you can practice the art of talking to yourself since you won't be invited to any more parties. You can't just be waiting for the other person to finish just so you can say whatever is on your mind. And timing is everything! Sometimes I will have something funny to say and I'll wait for the chance to slip it in, but if the moment passes I've learned to just let it go. You can't force it in! And if you say it and people didn't hear it, don't repeat yourself a few times hoping to get the laugh you think you deserve.

I've also learned that sometimes the most intelligent and kind thing you can say is nothing at all. Sometimes it is better to think than talk. People expect me to comment on everything, so sometimes it's best just to let it go. For instance, if I see someone at school who's got a new haircut; chances are they've heard a million and one questions and comments about it, so I might just opt to leave it alone. It's not that I don't like paying people compliments, but you can sense when someone's talked enough about something. At least I know when I have.

Obviously all this babble stems from my constant need to be the center of attention. Just the act of writing a blog proves I've convinced myself I have something to say and there is people out there that will listen.

Now go out there and talk, people! And now I will practice knowing when to shut up.

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