Word In Edgewise (DOG EAR)

Word In Edgewise (DOG EAR)

‘ve got three people in my life who really know how to talk.

Sometimes I’ll call them for a quick word. A question. Or just to check on on them. Sometimes they call me (usually when I’m playing a game or watching something on TV, sigh). Regardless, once the get their verbal boilers up to pressure, they are full steam ahead, no stopping them.

And no getting a word in edgewise.

One guy, when he tells a story, fills in every unneeded detail. And in the middle of what he and I both know is tedious exposition, he’ll even say something like “and yada-yada-ya”, an actual acknowledgement that he’s grinding along. But with all of them, there is no question that I get to say anything. So I sit there and grunt “yes” and “I see” and “tell me more”.

And we’re not just talking an hour – people who do this have two possible outcomes: either they will double back to further explain the obvious with a side story OR they will branch from this story to yet another one. Twice in the last week, people on the phone have locked me out of the conversation until the battery was on the verge of going dry, going on and on and on.

Now, having said this, I’ll admit that I sometimes play this one forward. I have weekly calls with a good friend and sometimes I go long into stories, babbling on in my cleverness. I’ll even realize it after a time, and turn the conversation around to him. “So, what’s new with you?” Sometimes it works and he’ll take the lead and tell me something. Sometimes he’ll just give me the old “Same old, same old” (and having to carry a conversation is a blog for another day). But that’s the important thing. I’m aware of it and try to stop myself.

When you talk with someone, on the phone, over coffee, whatever, keep an internal clock running on your time blowing words out. Try to catch yourself and toss the conversational lead to the other person. Give them a chance to babble.

That’s one thing I actually learned from a chat bot I sometimes play with – I get to type in a couple of sentences but then I have to hit return and let it talk back to me. And that’s the trick. Hit return. Give the other person a turn.