Hey! Show Some Interest, Why Dontcha?

Recently my Sweetheart and I ran into a former business acquaintance of mine, someone I used to interact with a lot and now rarely see.  Initially I was delighted to see him and as our conversation went on, I realized that every time I mentioned something about what I was currently doing, he managed to shift the topic back to himself.  I found myself looking for an opportunity to end the conversation, and walked away feeling disconnected and somewhat disappointed that he didn’t seem more interested in the things that were important to me.  It made me really reflect on how much time and energy I am willing to spend in personal relationships that don’t feel reciprocal and balanced.  My friend is not a bad person, far from it, and I give him the benefit of the doubt–perhaps he had something on his mind that kept him from being a better listener.

This incident stayed with me for a few days, and finally I became  clear that I want my life to be filled with rich interactions and a sense that I am valued for what I bring to any situation rather than simply being an audience for someone else’s fascinations with themselves.  Is this always possible?  No.  But at least I have now given myself permission to feel okay about limiting my interactions with these kinds of people–if that’s the usual dynamic when I see them.

So what does Love Applied look like in a case like this? Be aware of how much you speak versus how much you are listening. While someone else is speaking, pay attention and ask questions that arise naturally from what the other person is saying… instead of planning what you are going to say next. Remember that while YOU are most likely your own favorite subject, there are few things that you can do to send a message of respect than to honor someone by being fully present to them. All it takes is being a little more aware of how you are coming across. And that’s Love Applied.



  1. That is one awkward situation I dont want to be in, but do land up often 🙂

    • I hear ya! So, how do you handle it when that happens? Do you say something or just mentally cross that person off the list?

      One time (I was in a business situation) when a vendor who wanted my business kept talking over me I interrupted him and said, “It looks as if every time I am speaking, you aren’t listening at all, but are thinking of what you want to say next instead of listening to me. It comes across as if you can’t WAIT for me to finish so that you can talk again!” He looked very startled and then said, “People tell me that all the time.” Cracked us both up and he has never done that to me again:-)

      • Wow…that is one good way I need to learn.. here in India if you are speaking to a lady and interrupt her in between, then it is considered as bad manners (unless it is a debate). You simply have to let her finish & then put across your point across.

        On the other hand when the discussion is between guys & the other person is not letting me speak then I start to raise the pitch level. He follows suit and the next moment we both are shouting (Actually, it is a fun situation, shouting normal things). The next move is to take him to the highest pitch and drop back (be silent all of a sudden). Normally he realizes what is wrong. If not, I anyways had fun… 😉

  2. I loved reading your post about guy talk, Ayush! I can see where that would be great fun. I’ve always admired how men can banter and no one seems to take it personally–when everyone plays by the same conversational rules.

    You make a great illustration of how gender and cultural differences affect communication. What works well in one situation would get you a glare in another:-) I think it’s part of the learning of life to find the balance between standing up for what is important to you and being respectful. I’m still learning:-)!

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