Share the Conversation. It’s not all about YOU

We all know people who are so self-absorbed that, no matter what the conversation is about, will turn it back to themselves. We could be talking about different types of bread or world peace, it really doesn’t matter. They will soon be referencing it back to something they said, did, witnessed, experienced, almost without pausing for breath.

There’s the story of a supermodel who was talking non-stop about herself and then eventually paused, turned to her companion and said;

‘now let’s talk about something really interesting, what do you think of me!’

Apocryphal or not, most of us will have an awareness of someone like that!

In order to build two-way relationships, we have to demonstrate an interest in others, find some common ground and have the desire to connect. How often do we walk away from a stimulating conversation or discussion and say,

‘I never thought of it like that’.

A good conversation can be an enlightening experience.

When nurturing a relationship others will respond to your interest in them by being ready to reciprocate, work harder, give more of themselves. This is especially evident when we hear reports of people changing their job, taking a pay cut and moving to another employer, one who has a track record of showing appreciation and offers better working conditions. People value and respond to being treated as important.

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So share the conversation – it’s not always about you: – How de-motivational is it to converse with someone who’s not remotely interested in hearing what you have to say. Someone who can hardly conceal their impatience as they wait for you to finish speaking because they’ve already got their next sentence ready to go! Feeling that our input is valued makes us feel worthwhile and happy to engage.

– Why bother having an opinion or trying to add something to a discussion if the other person is not interested, has already made up their mind and chooses not to listen? This frustrates communication and halts the free expression of ideas and input. People eventually switch off and stop listening. Similarly, if someone always counters whatever you have to say with a dismissive word or look that too can stifle any desire to participate.

– Honest, respectful conversation gives an opportunity to obtain feedback, develop your interests and gain knowledge. A dialogue provides time to share, discuss and maybe challenge
opinions, so learning a lot from each other. Often we can come away from a lively conversation feeling enriched by it. We may have gained a new perspective or seen something from a completely different viewpoint. Sharing ideas, opinions and perspectives help us educate ourselves, each other and widen our scope.

– Reflect on how we form positive new relationships. Some people are quiet and enjoy letting others take the limelight as they hold forth on their pet subjects. But few people want to become a permanent audience and have their opinions totally disregarded and ignored. Being listened to and considered is an important part of forming healthy, two-way adult relationships.

– We need to value others. Their opinions, thoughts and feelings matter. When we treat people with genuine interest and respect they thrive and are often enthusiastic about engaging in a conversation, perhaps even a relationship. They become more confident, friendly and trusting. Relationships formed on this basis add value to everyone’s lives.

– And it’s worth remembering that people who constantly talk about themselves may be insecure and in need of reassurance. There may be times when it’s valid to listen and appreciate their need to talk and be heard. But equally, sometimes it’s not unreasonable to reclaim some ‘airtime’ for yourself and say ‘it’s my turn now’.

Everyone benefits when there’s a two-way connection. Clearly different personalities express themselves in different ways. Some people are loud and outgoing, others are quieter and prefer to be more restrained. But when a relationship is constantly about one person it can eventually become boring and result in others switching off and walking away mentally if not physically. People relax and are more confident when they are respected.

We all appreciate being treated well.

Susan Leigh is a long established counsellor, hypnotherapist, writer and media contributor who works with clients to help with relationship conflict, stress management, assertiveness and confidence issues. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support. Author of 3 self-help books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ & ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, with lots of easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you enjoy positive control of your life. To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit

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