I’m talking about conversation between or amongst people. While driving back from an awesome mini-vacation on Key Largo (that’s Florida!) I got into an interesting conversation with the lovely woman who motivated that trip. She was talking about her friend, Becky. I make a point to listen to conversations between and amongst people. I also make a point to listen carefully to how others describe their friends’ conversational style. Verbal exchanges are a huge part of social skills.
In listening to the description of how Becky carries on a conversation, I was quickly reminded of the nature of a poor conversation. Becky only talks about her own experiences and her associated feelings. No one else matters in this type of conversation except the speaker. This unfortunate type of conversation is terribly unbalanced and selfish. There is no way to get a word in because the speaker simply doesn’t care about the other person’s words, feelings, or opinions.
Frankly, this is not conversation, it’s an extended soliloquy about the speaker’s experiences, feelings, and opinions. When the speaker is a woman, she’s selfish and uncaring. When the speaker is a man, he’s a damned blowhard . Men and women like this are solipsistic to a ridiculous degree. Such people are to be avoided. For my readers, note how you hold your conversations and what you are talking about. Is it completely solipsistic? Fix it through self-examination and introspection.
Ordinary (Polite) Conversation
We tend to talk about ourselves. This is human nature and it’s OK. The ordinary conversation is when two people take turns talking about themselves. There is usually some degree of empathy or sympathy to when the speaker is talking is talking about himself or herself. If there are subjects other than one’s self raised, the nature of the conversation sticks to polite, politically correct responses or statements. Ordinary conversation is about avoiding interpersonal conflict. This is a healthy cultural response in order to avoid potential conflicts. Just know that such types of conversation generally aren’t intellectually stimulating. A man can’t stand out from the crowd using just ordinary conversation.
These are conversations that do not focus on the self, but on events outside of our individual experiences. Current news events or even celebrity gossip can fit in this conversational category. Such conversations are not as solipsistic as poor or ordinary conversations. Of course, there is discussion of one’s feelings or opinions about the topic at hand. A bunch of guys jaw-boning about sports is an example of good conversation. Women may find that topic uninteresting, but that’s OK. Men typically don’t find celebrity gossip particularly interesting. These types of conversations can be fun and have a degree of intellectual stimulation that goes way above poor and ordinary conversations.
This is the category conversation that focuses on ideas. There is little in the way of selfish, solipsistic subject matter. One’s feelings or experiences matter far less than the logic and reason required to make an effective point, pro or con to the matter at hand. These type of conversations can be heated and political. But amongst intelligent people with emotional self-control, such a verbal exchange is intellectually healthy and vigorous. This category of conversation is also the most difficult to attain. It’s human nature to fall back a solipsistic conversational approach.
There is a bonus to having a great conversation. It’s an opportunity for a man to show some intellectual backbone as long as he’s not being a blowhard. The willingness to at least listen to an opposing intellectual concept is a serious mark of being intelligent. Equal with confidence, intelligence is an attraction point for women. That goes double for a guy who’s a great conversationalist
The take away for all my readers is this: Be keenly aware of what you are talking about when in a conversation. As well, be keenly aware of how the person (or people) respond to you. Are they reverting back to personal first person pronouns? That’s selfish but understandable. A guy has to make his own decisions regarding how a person responds and if he should continue the conversation.