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.