It’s not always about you. In fact, when conversation with friends is involved, it rarely is.
Enough About Me, my recent post on the epidemic if self-centered behavior really struck a chord with readers. It turns out that I’m not alone in noticing that so many have lost their ability to look outside themselves.
I’m pretty sure that most people don’t realize how self-focused they might be in conversations with their friends. They believe they’re having a dialogue. A dialogue, though, requires give and take. Responses that are all about you are one-sided: yours.
If your response to something a friend shares with you is something like “I know what you mean–the other day at my job…” and then describe your own situation?
That’s a self-absorbed response. You’re not engaged in what your friend is saying, you are engaged in what you are going to say next. About yourself.
Chances are, your friend is tempted to say, “Hey, it’s not about you!”
Your friend has the floor. Let her have it. Your time will come soon enough.
A more caring and inclusive response (and one that promotes a true dialogue) is to ask a question about the situation your friend is describing. Really get into what they mean.
So think about it.
Are you promoting a true dialogue when you talk to others? Or are you seeking a platform to talk about yourself?
Here’s a little trick. When you sit down to talk with a friend, focus on asking questions about what they just said, not making statements. Statements are often about ourselves, but questions? They can be about your friend and the information s/he is sharing.
People often think I’m writing about them when I blog, because the piece may post near a date when I could have noticed something they did. That always makes me smile. The fact is that most of my pieces are written weeks or even months before they are scheduled, so no, it’s not about you.
But in this case? If you think it’s about you?