I don’t know when I started this habit, but it must have been from birth. It is so ingrained in me that stopping it is almost as hard as my efforts to quit trying to use my right hand. But here I am, in my own little confession-booth-blog, with all of my Gentle Readers serving as a priest offering absolution. (But only after doing my penance – I’m thinking about revising my confession already; I’d want to know what penance I would have to perform. Not being a catholic, I don’t use a rosary (but I have one our son Adam brought back to us from Rome – it was blessed by the Pope, apparently!), nor do I know by heart any/all of the standard Roman Catholic prayers. Ah well, perhaps my confession and my sincere desire to break this habit and form a new good one, will be enough! So here goes: (Come on – you can tell me! What do you think my awful habit is? Hint: It’s not picking my nose at red light stops!)
My terrible habit is jumping in on conversations, before the other has even finished their question or comment. My standard response, before my mind has fully digested the question/comment, is to say “Hunh? Yeah!” or “Hunh? No!” in rapid fire succession. By the time I’ve finished saying “Hunh?” it finally kicks in my brain what the question was, and I can then answer or comment cogently, after the requisite “Yeah! or No!” I know it would drive me crazy if I were on the other side of this Q&A, and I’ve really tried to catch myself, and finish listening before answering, but so far, I am only rarely successful.
Related to this habit is my getting excited by what the other is telling me, and bright ideas and thoughts and questions begin to come to my mind. I am fearful of forgetting what I would like to say, or losing track of my bright questions and/or exquisite thoughts. Because of this fear, I will step right on into and over the other person’s comments! I know – this is very rude, but I am quite convinced that unless I’m taking notes – which I generally don’t do in standard conversations – I will forget what the important things are that I want to say. The awful personlity disorder or neurosis, or whatever, that I cannot wait for someone to finish is becoming pathological. Hubs will generally tell me as we are walking away from a discussion with someone else, and I will quickly replay the conversation in my mind. Yup! He’s generally right about that. He loves being right. After all, it so seldom happens – I like to throw him a bone once in a while. But when he is not with me, after leaving the conversation, I will rewind the conversation I just finished and realize, sadly, that I have done it once again! I realize that is why I see so many people with annoyed or pained expressions on their faces when having a talk with me!
Now, I will say this one thing on my own behalf – and it doesn’t come close to covering all my sins in this arena – sometimes I really cannot hear what the person is saying, and I assume the speaker has finished when he or she has not. If their speech is within a certain pitch or decibel range, I don’t always pick it up. Of course I could take a look at their lips to see if they are finished, but I’m one of those people who looks into people’s eyes when they are speaking to me. Either I start looking at lips before I start talking, or I get a hearing aid. But I figure I married one, so why buy one? Maybe I can find one of those info-commercial “Miracle Ear” thingies on special somewhere.
I’m going to close this little post (little for me, anyway) with a clip from an Ellen DeGeneres routine in which she expresses exactly how I feel my conversation scenarios might turn out if I didn’t interrupt:
If you haven’t got time to listen to the whole segment (this segment is Part 3 of about 6 or 7), then advance the red dot at the bottom to about 3 mins. 10 sec. I also highly recommend all of Ellen’s stand-up routines which are now available on YouTube.
So, offer your suggestions for how I might drop my terrible habit. In the meantime, communicate with me only by blog or e-mail. I can’t interrupt you then! (But I can sure jump to some wild conclusions as I read them, but I probably won’t quit doing that. After all, “jumping to conclusions” is about all the exercise I get!)
Hey all! Stay in touch. . .you might not get to know all of who I am, but I’m quite sure you will learn enough. . .