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Friday, April 29, 2016

Conversational Narcissist

Listening, REALLY listening – hearing what’s being said, what’s NOT said, paying attention to the speaker’s body language and tone of voice  – is one of the most exquisitely valuable virtues on the fucking planet! I’ve whinged on about this and conversational dominatrices before.

What brings it up now/again? Eh, I’m over-scrutinizing myself, as uzh. I know that I talk more now that I’m deaf. Does my sound system’s crap-outage mean that I’m listening less? Well yeah-duh but, actually, not so much. That is, when I first joined the ranks of the deaf, I was kinda sorta, WICKED preoccupied with adjusting to my new state of being. And recovering. That too. As time went on and I got the hang of the No Sound state, I found different ways to listen.

For the ASL impaired, I carry around pad and pen and my iPad. Yes, I can lipread fairly well BUT, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m no Jedi at this shit. The point here is that listening involves, fer instance:
  • NOT dominating the talk action unless, of course, you're being paid to deliver that speech you're making.
  • Asking questions of your convo buddy. You know, inquire about them.
  • Exercising patience – most of us don't talk in PowerPoint slide format. Ya know,  just FYI.
  • Focusing on the speaker, what they’re saying and how – do they seem comfortable or un? happy or un? thrilled to itty bits? tense and nervous? Body language – check it out.
  • And here’s a biggy, don’t hijack the convo. Don’t interrupt the speaker’s flow with “Oh, I know – this is MY experience and how I felt and what I want and …” etc. Yeah, I totes want to hear all about my friend’s feelings and thoughts BUT LET ME FINISH!
    Gratuitous daffodils
Coco's I'm Listening face
We all have friends and fam who could easily win the gold in the Loquaciously Me-Me-Me Olympics. I don’t want to be like that. Evah!

Also too, I can be a good listener while deaf. Cool? Cool!

While tooling around the 'toobz, I found this cool article:
In The Pursuit of Attention, sociologist Charles Derber shares the fascinating results of a study done on face-to-face interactions, in which researchers watched 1,500 conversations unfold and recorded how people traded and vied for attention. Dr. Derber discovered that despite good intentions, and often without being aware of it, most people struggle with what he has termed “conversational narcissism.”

Conversational narcissists always seek to turn the attention of others to themselves. Your first reaction to this statement is likely, “Oh, I don’t do that, but I know someone who does!”
But not so fast. Conversational narcissism typically does not manifest itself in obviously boorish plays for attention; most people give at least some deference to social norms and etiquette. Instead, it takes much more subtle forms, and we’re all guilty of it from time to time. Everyone has felt that itch where we couldn’t wait for someone to stop talking so we could jump in; we pretended to be listening intently, but we were really focusing on what we were about to say once we found an opening.
“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” 

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