The Conversation Turner
When two people speak to each other, they have to take turns listening and then speaking. The goal is usually to pass one thought to another person and vice versa. From time to time this happens, but more often than not, we are just waiting for our turn to speak.
Sometimes we get carried away and turn a conversation to ourselves. We may do it unknowingly, we're only human. We are all experts on ourselves, so naturally it's the easiest subject to talk about. Some however, take this to extremes. They know of nothing else, I call them The conversation turners.
They love to talk and they have a favorite topic, themselves. Conversation turners will never let the conversation get too far away from numero uno. They snatch the reins and dutifully steer the conversation back to themselves. They have to keep the conversation interesting, and only one thing interests them.
Feed them a compliment and watch them take it and run. Say something to the effect of “well you've always been good at ________.” And off they go. They will go on about the exotic lands they've visited, or what they have planned, it never stops. There’s nothing wrong with talking about ourselves, it’s just that a conversation has to have sides, and both sides have to listen from time to time.
Here's an example, nothing major, just a short example of a quick converstion with a Conversation turner. You say:
“The other day, I was at Target, I stopped to look at the laundry detergent when this man came out and took my cart.”
Now a normal person would interject with something to the effect of “Wow, he just stole your cart? What did you say?” Not a Conversation Turner, they need to get back to the subject of that sentence, themselves.
They may say something like “I always keep my cart with me at all times, I went to Wal-Mart the other day, and they had a big sale on Blu-Ray players. We got three of them, one for the bedroom, one for the living room and one just to have on hand. You never know when it could come in handy, I always have guest over, or I might need it for Christmas, I’m already thinking about Christmas, it’s never too early. It snuck right up on me last year...” And on and on it goes...
You were going to tell them about the how the man was playing a prank on you, he was actually a long lost cousin you hadn't seen in 15 years but you were unable to find an opening after the conversation took a turn. So you spent the next fifteen minutes listening to details of their fascinating life, interjecting every now and then with Wow! and Really?
Conversation Turners rarely come away from a conversation with anything new. When they don’t hear themselves talk they are tuned out. Your life bores them to tears, why should they care about something that doesn't involve them?
Another example, you ask:
“Have you seen The Hunger Games? It was really good, if you go see it, make sure it’s during the day. There are tons of teenagers at night. I do think you would like it though.”
Here is what the they heard: Have you….Hunger Games….you go see it…..you would like it. So basically they got the jist of it, but do think they have any questions about the movie? Nope.
"I may go next week; I have a really busy weekend planned. I've got to clean, go to the grocery store and do other things that involve me."
Sometimes you can say whatever you want, it’s not like their listening.
"Have you seen the Hunger Games? It’s about space aliens that come down to Earth and eat babies!"
You will likely get the exact same answer.
There are situations where the Conversation Turner can excel. They often do very well in situations such as job interviews. It’s all about them.
“So tell me a little bit about yourself.”
Well, how much time do you have? For a Conversation Turner, this is a subject they could talk about for days. They can ramble on for hours, and a job interview can be their time to shine.
They make great sales-persons; their self confidence is usually of the charts. They are sure of themselves and convey this to potential customers. They do well in front of large groups and have no problems being the center of attention.
If you ever are talking to one of these people and find yourself at a loss for words, just let them take over. They know what to do with a conversation, they will mold it and shape it to cater to their needs. Sometimes I wonder why they even need another person to speak with, they do just fine on their own...