Have The Same Old Conversation, Or Break The Pattern?
No, It's Scintillating, Really
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Tell Me If You've Heard This One Before...
You know what I mean, and you know it just from the title. There are the people in your life – your friends, your family, your partner, your workmates – and there are the conversations that you have with them. The conversations that you habitually have with them. The same old conversations, again and again! (And it isn't always their fault either, or their topic of conversation. You do it too! Oh yes you do!) An you know what, good conversation starters are a whole lot easier to come up with than good conversation stoppers.
Everyone has a pet hobby horse, or a few. (More than a few, probably.) More than that, everyone has a few choice anecdotes that, on provision of certain topics, cues or provocations, they will wheel out without fail. It's almost Pavlovian, involuntary: if you know just what buttons to push, then you can almost choose which anecdote they set out upon, and at what moment. Not that you would, because you're almost certainly so familiar with them by now that you want to tear out your own eyeballs with a teaspoon the moment the old, old story starts up. You probably know it so well that you could simply take over and tell it yourself! (You do it too. Remember, you do it too.)
I find that sometimes it's possible to break the narrative thread of an old familiar story, however. Not always, but sometimes: if you find just the right distraction, break in at the right moment, fail to prod and nudge with the expected conversational responses. (This gambit is not always appreciated. People do like to know that their usual audience is up, awake and taking notes.)
So why not give it a try? You don't have to simply give up and roll over when your colleague in the next cubicle starts up about the time her mother ordered the wrong christening invitations and they came out Darryl instead of Dana and wasn't it hilarious? Simply cry out, 'There's a kitten free-climbing up the elevator!' and run like hell in the opposite direction.
Believe me. You don't have to listen one more time.