I have a habit of jumping subjects when talking to the man in my life.
When we get on the phone, we are both talkers. Meaning he asks how my day is going, and I provide a ten minute dissertation about an unwieldy pimple. He will then sympathetically make statements and follow it up with an entertaining story about a long ago pimple he conquered in the bathroom one day. And there goes 30 minutes of our lives sucked up by discussing a pimple.
If any other normal questions are asked, well then we can forget anything meaningful being discussed. Side-tracked, ambushed with silliness and inane impersonations, laughing about nothing, and of course the momentary crisis, seem to take up all of our talking moments.
This doesn’t just apply to the phone. It is the same in person.
One day last week he stopped me mid-sentence. He said kindly, “Wait, what are we talking about? We didn’t finish talking about the subject we started with, and now you have lost me as you’ve skipped from one to another. Can we finish one topic at a time?”
I have friends who communicate in this haphazard fashion, but we always manage to spit out what’s important and cover all the bases, so we are all pretty pleased with the results of our conversation. Yet, for those who don’t skip puddles like we do, and want to actually listen to each word stated and understand what is being said to them, puddle jumping isn’t satisfying and doesn’t work.
I understand this, and of course I am drawn to the fact that someone actually wants to pay attention to what I am saying without having to be pinned to a mat. It is nice though, to have another human being interested in what you say, and not just formulating an answer as you speak.
My main issue, in being the puddle-jumping conversationalist, is that I have a habit of forgetting things I want to say in a conversation for a multitude of reasons. Mostly it is my focus on being in the moment to the exclusion of what may have happened yesterday.
After explaining to my significant other how I forget to tell him things all the time, some important, some not so much, he suggested I jot down thoughts on sticky notes to keep track of the subjects I wanted to chat about with him. In essence, it’s a great idea. The implementation remains to be seen.
So, I sent him over my list of sticky notes a couple days ago. We still have yet to talk about one subject on my random list. Maybe it had something to do with my overwhelming list, which in its original state had about 30 unrelated items! It looked something like this:
- Your mom.
- Hot dogs give me heartburn.
- Lawnmower? (Don’t ask)
- No we can’t sweep little issues under the rug, its bound to grow into an unwieldy pile of crud. And yes, we can go right back to talking about pimples afterward.
- I’m on jury duty.
- Oh and kissing, yeah…. Santa, please bring more kissing.
- Last Sunday.
- Found a gift for me from you-foam bath mat 19.99 w/5.00 off coupon.
- Going to yoga Monday night.
Yes, completely random and non-related. I think if all of us sat down and made a list of everything we wanted to talk about with our mate or best friend, it would be random. And as I looked at this long ass list, I asked myself how many items were actually important? How many could I just let go and let meander into a conversation freely, wildly in the natural ebb and flow of communication? It seems a lot easier than trying to figure out how to best remember the list when in the middle of a conversation.
I found that once I created the list it created a stress of importance. As though if I missed any topic on here, something catastrophic might occur (okay, not really). I started wondering if I should prepare for our conversations as though it were a professional meeting. Take a few topics and cross them off each day or something less systematic.
Sigh. Too much work, and frankly I came to the conclusion that whatever is super important will wend its way into our exchanges, and if I really have a hard time remembering, maybe a sticky note or two would help.
I definitely am fortunate to have someone in my life that is fascinated by me and cares to hear what I have to say, no matter how trivial. Even when it’s the dust on the floor in need of being swept up and dealt with.
Editor: Jennifer Cusano
Tracy Crossley is a hyphenate: female, writer, curiosity quencher, artist, poet, gardener of real gardens and existential ones, clairvoyant, momma to grown ups, life coach and real, imperfect chick. Loves life, even days when she doesn’t like it and appreciate, appreciation for everything. Website:www.tracycrossley.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/
transformativecoachand Blog: 13degreez.wordpress.com
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