As the years go on, and the more self-aware I become, I’m realising that I often give more information than I need to. There comes a point in my accounts of experiences when I should stop, see the glazed look on the listener’s face, and shut up. One sentence too many turns an interesting conversation into a torturous monologue. It also risks turning into gossip or negativity. When your brain starts shouting “why are you telling them this?”, it’s time to be silent. I have too much of a ‘what the heck, I’m interested’ attitude when it comes to talking, and too little of it when it comes to listening.
On a different note, I have also noticed that other people over-talk. For some, it is nervousness, some – pride, and for a saddening few – loneliness. If you no longer have someone to sit across the table from, and listen to an account of your day, or someone to hear your worries and fears last thing at night, then you deserve to be heard. However long that might take. One day, all of us may well be that person. Even now, there are times when we feel unheard. My response, I’m learning, should not be to talk louder, or longer, but to listen. To make sure that no-one I spend time with leaves feeling alone. That everyone has the space to unleash their own torrent of words, even at the cost of mine.