Have you ever known someone who loved the sound of their own voice? You know the type. They start a conversation on one item then continue to another, then another, barely breathing. The mouth moves and it’s as if they’ve recorded each detail of every day in its totality. When you get together, they push the play button and recite each moment as it happened.
You like this person. They aren’t mean or anything like that, just chatty. Actually they aren’t just chatty, they verbally vomit their day onto the least suspecting person. Sorry, it’s true.
What can we do with a friend like this? Here are some ideas:
1. Exercise compassion. They probably don’t realize their capacity to recall daily details.
2. Recognize loneliness when you see it. If they saved up all day, maybe no one connected or attempted to connect with them prior to you. Maybe they spend much time alone and have lost conversational skill practice.
3. Know the flow is coming and mentally set a timer. They probably repeat this pattern, so you might as well recognize playback season for what it is. They will reach a finishing point, believe it or not.
4. Make an effort to connect more regularly. Yes, that’s what I said. More is better. By having more regular contact with others, the loneliness dissipates and true conversations can begin.
As you read this, perhaps you see something in yourself, maybe it’s you who has become the verbal vomit specialist. How can you redirect and build better friends?
1. Ask questions first. Before you play your recording, come up with questions you really want to ask other people. When you ask, bite your lip and allow them to press play on their day.
2. Listen more than you talk. This will take great effort because the lips have had more practice than the ears, but there are two of them and maybe they need more use. There is a danger though. Listen with the purpose of truly hearing what the other person says, not just waiting for your chance to speak.
3. Seek to know your friends better. True friendships develop because we care about one another. Your friends need to know you care about who they are not just their ears.
4. Apologize early and often. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, the first step is realizing you have a problem. If your friends know you are working on this area of your life, they’ll be inclined to support and encourage you and maybe even listen more.
And what’s the Bible connect to all this listening and talking stuff? Jesus often said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13:9) Funny, He never said, “Whoever has a mouth, let them talk.” Just something to think about.
By the way, if I haven’t said it lately, “I am sorry.”