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One-sided Conversations

Have you ever heard your phone ring, looked at the number, and thought “Maybe this time will be different”? So, you answer the phone looking forward to having an adult conversation with a friend, but two minutes in, you sigh knowing nothing has changed. For the next 45 minutes to an hour, you listen to your friend go on and on about his/her life. You try to jump in with a comment or story, but the conversation quickly turns back to them. You decide to work on something during the call because it is obvious that your full attention is not needed, and while juggling your phone between your ear and shoulder, it falls to the floor. You immediately stop what you are doing to pick it up and explain the loud noise only to realize the person on the other end is completely oblivious that you weren’t listening. After what seems like an eternity, you politely break into their monologue with a flimsy excuse to get off the phone. Your ear is throbbing, and you look at the time you spent listening to someone who clearly has no interest in anything you have to say, and you vow to ignore their call next time. However, a few days later, the people pleaser in you accepts their call once again to repeat the cycle over and over.

Those one-sided conversations! At least when you are on the phone, you can put the person on speaker and continue what you were doing or find an excuse to hang up. But, when it is in person, the torture! Your subtle social cues of responding with one word, slowly backing away, looking at the time on your phone, etc. slip right by the person unnoticed because he/she is so focused on themselves. Ultimately, you are forced to awkwardly excuse yourself from the conversation and walk away.

Unfortunately, if the person has blessed you with a visit at your home, getting away is not as easy. You casually mention that you have to do something.

The person keeps talking.

You stand up.

The person keeps talking.

You walk them to the door.

The person keeps talking.

You finally squeeze in a goodbye, good to see you, or take care and close the door on them.

Come on, admit it. We all know who these people are in our lives, but we never would be so rude to call them out on it. Honestly, would it do any good anyway? Since I take so long to type what I want to say on my computer, I have given up even trying to engage in the conversation. What would be the point? The person has no interest in hearing what I have to say, only what they have to say.

ALS has few perks, but at least I am no longer trapped in an hour-long phone conversation. But, I do get to hear when my husband is!

We must be getting something from these friendships and encounters, or we wouldn’t keep subjecting ourselves to them. However, sometimes we just need a break!

If you are thinking that you have never experienced these one-sided conversations, then there is a good possibility you are the talker. Reflect on this and see if you can find a way to allow others an opportunity to be involved in your conversation because, after all, a conversation is meant to involve two or more people speaking not just one.

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