Can’t Get A Word in Edgewise This Holiday Season?

Social interaction increases at this time of year at work and at holiday activities.  It’s a good time to assess whether people listen to what you have to say.  Or, whether you might be monopolizing conversations.

On Big Think today, I posted a blog about ways to deal with being interrupted, dismissed, and ignored.  Too often we simply give up and go away annoyed or even angry when we’re unable to participate comfortably and effectively in conversations.

That’s a good thing for conversational hoarders to keep in mind.  Talking too much, interrupting others, talking over them or dismissing what they have to say by not responding on topic are offensive types of communication.  There’s enough tension during the holiday season without people feeling that their ideas are not valuable enough to be allowed expression.  They may not say that they’re perturbed by being put in such a position, but relationships, at work as well, suffer when this kind of conversational bullying goes on.  No one wants to feel unimportant or invisible.

If you’re the one who can’t get a word in edgewise, it’s time to make some changes in how you enter conversations and hold the floor.  Don’t wait for someone to do that for you.

Take a few minutes to read the blog.  You’ll find some tips for assuring that what you have to say is not ignored or in some other way demeaned.  I’ve written about how we’re all at least 75% responsible for how people treat us.  So rude as a conversational monopolizer may be, it’s not just his or her responsibility to bring that behavior to an end.  Some people simply don’t notice that they talk over others or say too much instead of asking others their opinions or in some other way inviting them to the conversation.

Try treating social occasions as opportunities to try out new ways to enter and stay in conversations without monopolizing them.  One of the greatest gifts is so often overlooked.  It’s listening.  When you really listen to others, your comments reflect that.  And yet so many people rush into “Oh, that reminds me” and talk about their experiences instead of asking a question about what they just heard or inviting the person who just spoke to elaborate on some aspect of what was said.  This can come across in a very phony way, so be careful.  Ask about what really interests you or don’t ask at all.

Try noticing when people have not been able to enter a conversation.  Ask their opinion on something.  A good host does this.  So does an observant member of a team.  Just make sure it’s a topic about which you know they’ll have something of interest to add.

The most interesting people are not the ones who hoard conversations.  They’re the ones who participate in intriguing ways but also make sure others are involved.  So, if you’re talking too much or talking too little, consider some of the thoughts shared in the blog.  It could make this holiday season much more pleasant.

This entry was posted in Comebacks, Holiday Conflicts, Unwanted Repetitive Episodes. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Can’t Get A Word in Edgewise This Holiday Season?

  1. Interesting article!
    I learned to hold my own as a child at family gatherings, where the men would sit around the table and converse (argue), while the women cleared the food and did dishes. Although a girl, I could comment (if I could think of a thin enough word to get edgewise). And the men were good natured if what I said was relevant. This unintended training taught me to think on my feet (or seat). And it helped prepare me for a career in a field dominated by men. I could argue and assert myself with the best of them. I don’t think it helped much in the marriage arena, though.

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