One is Enough

Counting Voices

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?


Dear Daily Prompt, you’ve hit on a pet peeve of mine this morning.  Congratulations.  I love having an opportunity to vent.

If I want a truly good conversation, I want it with only one other person.  Rarely is it possible to have a good stimulating conversation with more than one other person.  There is a very simple reason for that. It seems that when there is a group, everyone just ends up shouting over top of each other, and chaos ensues, and I can’t stand it.

That’s one reason I won’t watch The View  on television. Bunch of women interrupting each other and getting louder and louder, and you can’t hear what ANY of them are saying.

I don’t know about other cultures, but Americans seem to me to be growing more and more rude, discourteous, and incapable of having an intelligent, polite conversation in which one person listens while the other talks; then the roles switch, and each is given the courtesy of being heard until he is finished speaking.

I believe that too often we listen not to understand, but simply to refute. We’re so eager to “yeahbut” the other person/people that we interrupt, step on their sentences, and simply will not wait for our turn to speak.

And yes, of course I am guilty.  I do try to keep quiet until the other person stops talking. Sometimes it’s almost impossible, because the other person hasn’t learned the golden rule of conversation:  Let the other person talk, too. Otherwise it’s a monologue, not a conversation.

Have you ever tried to engage in conversation with someone who just can’t seem to speak without contradicting, objecting, finding fault?  That’s not conversation, either.  That’s debate, at best. At worst, it’s a futile, snarky, bickering argument that will never end, and the only thing to do is say goodbye.

It is a total delight to find someone who actually understands give-and-take in conversation, who listens with her eyes, who lets you complete your thought without butting in, and who can disagree without being disagreeable. If you know someone like that, don’t let go of the relationship.

16 thoughts on “One is Enough

  1. Pingback: The Daily Post: Counting Voices | Jen Online Now

  2. Absolutely agree, especially regarding The view, but there are many others just like that one. I too, enjoy the give and take of good conversation, unfortunately most people prefer the sound of their own voice and could care less to hear others. Great post.


  3. Guilty as charged, Your Honor. I will admit it: in my impatience I sometimes do forget to let others finish what they are saying. I know it’s rude. ODH and others have reproved me for this and I am contrite for awhile, but forget again. Thanks for the reminder.


  4. Well done you have described this situation perfectly. This drives me mad too, people even manage to do this down the phone as well as in person, it’s incredibly frustrating. When you get to the point where you are thinking” just let me speak” and trying desperately hard not to be rude and but in, as someone else goes on and on, is generally when I start making excuses to end the conversation. Cheeky – I know 🙂


  5. YES!!! We need a “Love” button for some posts, especially like this one! Like is too mild. I’ve found that you can have an intelligent conversation with 2 others, but that is rare… Any more and the conversation may be lively, but it will not be intelligent, and most likely it will be one or two people doing all the talking while everyone else gets to interject an occasional comment (if they’re lucky and have perfect timing). Those conversations pass the time but do nothing to feed the soul.


  6. Pingback: Conversation Rerun – Just Writing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s