Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Art of Good Conversation

I have had several opportunities to converse with different ladies lately in a one-on-one, relaxed setting, and one thing is becoming very clear to me. People do not know how to politely converse with others! Now, I am not an etiquette specialist or special speaker or THAT great at conversing myself; however, there is something very vaulable I learned a long time ago from a dear great aunt and uncle of mine. The ladies mentioned above were poor listeners to anything that I had to say and talked mostly about themselves. I know they had no conscious intention of doing these things, but I fear they haven't trained themselves well in conversing with others. I know a good deal about them, but they know very little about me. Perhaps I am dull and live a dull life, and they are simply not interested in what I like, who I am, and what I have to say. It is a little deflating to leave a conversation or even an entire morning spent with someone, where they have shown little, if any, interest in me. Ahh, that is the key. I have tried to determine not to do the same to others (though I admit to not always succeeding and there is MUCH room for improvement). The key, you ask? Well, whenever I visited with my great aunt and uncle as an older child and young teen, we would sit down in their living room, and they would always start in asking questions about me and then ask me to elaborate on my answers. No, they weren't nosey in any way. They knew the line between nosiness and good conversation. They drew me out. Found out about what I liked and disliked, my interests, my goals, and why. They listened intently and showed great interest in me and in whatever I had to say even though much of what I did say was probably very uninteresting to them (I mean, how exciting a life can an 8 year old have?). But with their examples they were teaching me the art of good conversation. I always left there feeling important and like they really cared and were actually interested in me. Few people do this today! It is a growing and maturing process--learning this art...and "art" it is, because sometimes one must get "creative" with the conversation and the questions (especially to those who give one-word answers) and listening. I've conversed with some pretty rude people--they keep yawning, they keep looking away at someone else, they change the subject to something totally off-subject, or they even just starting talking to someone else and left me finishing my sentence to the air. These situations are just situations of learning--making sure I don't do this to others. What valuable lessons we can learn from others!

1 comment:

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow Michele, that could be me writing this post. I have also come across this very same situation over and over. It is so amazing how very little people really about know me, because of all the examples that you just shared. It has gotten to the point that if I meet up with someone, it is generally easier to just direct the conversation to focus on them and their lives. Thanks for the excellent points and for sharing about your very wise aunt and uncle.