Friday, July 23, 2010

No one is interested

It's finally starting to sink in -- people are only interested in themselves, including me. The book How to Make Friends and Influence People goes on about it quite a bit. You want friends? Stop talking about yourself, ask questions of other people and listen. Deep down I've always known this to be true. It's just so difficult to be genuinely interested in other people's lives. How conceited is it to admit that?

I was lamenting to my partner the other day about how impossible this is. How can I feign interest? His response was that you can't -- you have to change your attitude. Sitting there and telling yourself to "listen and act interested" will not work. Bleh! When my interest is genuine, it's super easy. I want to know about everything that's going on in their lives. But that's only a handful of people for me. What about everyone else?

I really want to put this into practice, but keep forgetting. Just the other day I launched into a parenting tirade with my sister, only she wasn't interested. Her body language said "this is boring me to death, why are you telling me this anyways, do you think I'm a lousy parent; so shut up already!" Did I get the message? No! Like a religious zealot I proceeded to slam it down her throat until she got up to use the bathroom and I finally clued in (although I think I was still talking about it while she was on her way to the can!).

I have a friend who does this really well. I must do at least 75% of the talking between us. Sometimes my partner will ask me what's new with one of my close colleagues and I'm embarassed to say that I won't know because it was me blabbing the entire time. I think I'm getting better though. I try to bring it back, but it's not easy going up against someone so highly people-skilled. Thank goodness I'm at least in the awareness stage.

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