I have come to the conclusion that communication between humans can be difficult.
I am tempted to make universal statements here about human society, but I will resist. Instead, I will focus on what I like.
What I like in a conversation, is this:
1) The other person(s) can express that they want to know what I’m feeling.
2) The other person(s) can express that they want to know what I want to feel.
3) The other person(s) can express that they care about me getting from where I’m feeling, to where I want to feel. Sometimes, people even offer to help directly, which feels really good.
I was reading this article today, and realizing how I have tried to communicate with people who have seemed to not have many of the communication skills that the article outlines.
- Some people ‘selfishly hijack’ quite a bit. They bring things around to their experiences, their anecdotes, and their world. So much!!
- Some people do not answer questions at an appropriate level of detail! The other day, I was asking someone about their bike, and they went into an insane amount of detail about the kinds of shifters bikes can have. What!!! I was trying to take an interest in what they like, but they did not seem remotely cognizant of my level of interest, experience, and passion about motorbikes.
- Some people do not avoid topics that not all can follow. Cars, motorbikes, obscure things, that’s all people talk about. And furthermore, there are times when they are not even talking witheach other!! The conversation always comes back to I once did x” or “cool, did you hear about y thing that’s barely related to what you’re saying?”
- Some people seem unaware about self-interruptions. The use of transitions like ‘I know this is slightly off topic’ or ‘this weirdly reminds me of something not related’ can help signal a change of context. But some people do not use transitions. It’s like they are on their own world with no one but them, and so they can go off on a million tangents because of course, they always know what they are talking about, and even though other people have a hard time tracing what led the person to this current topic of conversation.
- SO MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO INTUITIVELY GRASP THE TRAFFIC LIGHT RULE OF COMMUNICATION. Some people just go on and on and on and ramble exclusively about their experience, often not actually even demonstrating that they care deeply about what they’re saying. It’s like talking for the sake of talking!
- Some people cut me off a lot. I’ve felt like things I care to talk about are totally side-lined and never addressed.
- Not only does no one attempt to take notes about what I’m saying, but they’ll flat-out ignore the fact that I’ve even said anything! Like if instead of me having said a thing, that there had been complete silence.
- Listening well is not a phrase I would attribute to some people I’ve met, especially recently.
I’m trying to figure out if people were generally better conversationalists on the east coast. I think that communication is hard and requires many different skills. I wonder if the kind of communication that I want might be something that other people think of as being very deep, and reserved exclusively for very intimate (romantic or otherwise) relationships. But it’s baffling to me that some people don’t seem to want to know how the people involved in the conversation are feeling, and what their universes are about!
My selves seem enhance-able by taking in other people’s experiences. A part of me is other people. But some people I’ve met seem like lone islands, drifting about like independent universes aimlessly.
This is different than what I’ve felt I’ve known on the east coast. I suppose when I go back to visit (or move back?) I can evaluate what people are doing there and see if it’s any different than what the people I’ve talked to do here.