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I am very concerned with the overwhelming need for a lot of individuals to force their own agenda. By this I mean, it is very aggravating in meetings, social gatherings and everyday life for people to feel like they have to dominate a conversation. Whatever happened to manners and allowing people to finish their thoughts? I often wonder why people with this tendency feel like their point of view, is the only point of view.
Let’s take meetings for example. I sit in multiple meetings constantly throughout the day. I find most of them unproductive and pointless because the same set of people try to shout over each other for the right to speak. I refuse to raise my voice in a professional setting just to get my point across. I am not a loud speaker and I abhor people that are (sorry, frankly it gives me a headache). I spend a good deal of my time saying the same statement: “please let them finish their thought and we will get to yours in a minute” or “can we take that offline and discuss that in more detail later”. However, all I do is waste my breath. It is as if I am dealing with my two kids who are both vying for my attention and neither one can wait until it is their turn to speak. I never signed up to play referee for conversations.
The same goes for social gatherings. I have noticed that there will be either one person or a few individuals who take over the entire conversation. These engagements are supposed to be more relaxed. In my mind, we are supposed to be interested in each other’s different points of view and ACCEPTING of those view points. We can certainly have debates…actually I take that back, others can have debates, my point of view is pretty final so I never really participate in debates (blame it on the Taurus in me). However, in this selfish day and age, the general thought pattern is me, me, me. It is a society where all that matters is “I want to be heard, I need to be heard, YOU are going to hear me.” My goodness, it is exhausting!
It is really simple. If you need to be heard, you need to learn how to listen. Learn to pump the brakes on your mind telling you to shout over everyone just because you feel your thoughts need to be heard at that exact moment. I am guilty of this too, believe me, there is no perfection on my part in this area either. Yet, I do have enough manners to catch myself, apologize for my interruption, offer to allow the other person to finish what they were saying and then continue with what I need to say. In most instances, the person is finished anyway and will let you speak – problem solved. If not, grow up and wait your turn.
We can blame texting, social media and all the things in our world that provide instant gratification. Honestly, I see these as cop outs. We all know what basic common courtesy is, we just refuse to implement it into our everyday lives. Can we not learn to practice give and take? Is it so hard to shut up for a few minutes so there can be more general discussions and equal opportunity conversations?
Surprisingly, we do not have a magic pill currently on the market that will trigger your brain to know when to speak and when not to speak. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is up to all of us to make an effort to make improvements. It is simply a matter of better principles, respect and common courtesy to our fellow man.
Until next time, remember your manners!