Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Are You Having A Conversation Or A Comparisation?

Photo from AmusingTime.com
Lately I've found myself guilty of doing the thing I hate when it's done to me.  I hate it when I'm telling a story, and someone else either interrupts or chimes in on the heel of my story with their own tale which is either similar to mine or better than mine.  It's like verbally raining on someone's parade.  But when I am guilty of doing it,  I mean no harm--I'm just trying to connect with them and show that we have something in common. It goes something like this, "Really? A similar thing happened to me..."  It's only been in my time reflecting on past conversations that I realize these comparisons are not forming a common bond, but they are deflating the other person's importance.

When we are telling someone a story or revealing something about ourselves, what we want most is to be heard. And this means focused eye contact, reactive facial expressions, questions, and two listening ears.  It does not mean a voice chiming in to tell you about themselves while you are telling your story.

Starting a comparisation is tempting because:
1. We are anxious to create a common bond with the other person; to show them that we have something in common with them.   We can create the strongest bond, however, by listening and valuing what the other person is saying. There will be time later to share our own stories.
2.  We are trying to prove to the other person that we have value. For instance, rather than being genuinely happy and interested that the other person has gone on a fabulous vacation or their daughter is going off to college, we feel a need to show them that our life is going just as well as theirs if not better.  Feeling the need to boast of one's achievements, however, is not going to make someone value us. They will, however, value the person who listens intently to them.

The next time you start a conversation, remember the root word is "converse" and not "compare".  I promise it will be a much more enjoyable encounter for both of you.


  1. Very well said. I believe we all know someone or have been guilty of this. Thanks for sharing. I could tell you a story but I am listening now.
    jeana aka RVlady