11 October, 2014

Are good, meaningful conversations gone?

Being a newbie in an organization is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I was once a newbie too, so each time our business unit has someone new on-board, regardless of designation, I go out of my way to take the person out to lunch. It's a gesture that I always do to welcome new colleagues and at the same time, to show them that they can come to me if they need help with anything. You'll be surprised at how food, no matter how simple it is, can create a reason to bond. We all know how challenging and awkward the first few weeks at a new job can be, so lunch in a more informal environment can be a good ice-breaker and a venue to get to know each other.

A couple of weeks ago, I invited the new girl at work for lunch. Later that day, P asked me how things went with the new colleague and I just shook my head. 10 minutes passed, then another five. She hasn't asked me a single question. Our food was brought to our table and she was still talking about herself. Basically, she had a monologue ... talked about her previous job, her achievements, what a stressful life she has, how she's getting a culture shock in this company, and yada yada yada yada. If that were a first date, it would be a nightmare!

That lunch was a huge letdown yet it amazes me how much I learned about her even with just a one-hour lunch. I would have appreciated a polite small talk that didn't require much effort or even a question as simple as, "How long have you been in the company?" However, I didn't get any of that.

There are folks who feel this need to talk a great deal, but sadly, they don't want to listen to others. It gives me the impression that this person is inconsiderate and wants to have the spotlight on her all the time. It raises a red flag and it tells me that:

1) They constantly need validation and affirmation on whatever accomplishments they have.
2) No one talks to them at home.
3) It is in the workplace when they feel most superior and confident.

Thus, I'm drawn to people who can carry on a nice conversation. I like people who are not intimidated by me and can share their views about things we have in common and stuff that we don't agree on. I like learning from others and I find it equally important to reciprocate the gesture when others give their time to listen to you. Listening is good manners and reciprocity is social benevolence.

We are all part of this generation that has a constant need to share information online, but we should not forget that there is value as well in sharing stuff offline with another human being. For me, nothing beats face-to-face communication. So, when others give this to us, the least that we can do is to make it their while by exerting a bit of effort to have a meaningful face-to-face interaction. Mind you, this is not specific to situations at work. We should do this even to our friends, our parents, siblings, our significant others.



Lately, I've been wondering if a good conversation is a lost art nowadays. I read this somewhere, "Shouldn't good conversation involve more than waiting until it's your turn to talk about yourself?" I totally know where the writer's coming from. For me, there's still nothing like face-to-face conversations. It's a practical, useful skill that need not extensive training. Yes?  ☮..Peace + _Love + Good Vibes. RUSS.


Image Credit: Gentleman's Gazzette

45 comments:

Sharon Wong said...

I agree with you. I think a lot of people have trouble communicating with each other face to face including myself. I should try talking to people outside more. Thanks for sharing! :)

HilLesha O'Nan said...

Wow, I couldn't have been able to hang in there for the first 15 minutes if all a person did was talked about themselves.

Rochkirstin Santos said...

It's great to have a buddy system for newbies in the company. There must be coaching and mentoring sessions upon deployment on the floor else the employee may feel unwelcome. I've joined a company before who didn't favor conversations via IM, social media or email when just having to talk to another employee within the same workplace. This was to foster good communication and enhance relationships offline.

Masshole Mommy said...

My issue is that I don't always communicate what I am thinking into words. Then I get mad that the other person doesn't know what I am talking about. LOL.

Ben @ Cheap is the new Classy said...

Conversation is becoming a lost art. I think it's because of all the electronic communication options out there.

Amber Nicole Blog said...

I do think it's becoming harder & harder to find someone to have real conversation with. :(

Liz Mays said...

With all of our high tech ways to communicate, it's not surprising that good conversation is dying. We've forgotten how to connect.

Gloriously Made said...

I do think old fashion conversations are gone because of social media/ texting etc. Everything is quick quick quick so we can cram more into our days. Its sad really. :(

Cindy Gordon said...

With all this technology that is out there, conversations do seem gone. At least the good ones!

Hannah Staveley said...

Loving this post such good to read .x

Tracers said...

I so agree! It seems conversations are not so common anymore.

joannappok said...

I think that the people who talk a whole lot but can't listen seem to lack an important quality: empathy. It's great that you can recognize what makes a good conversation.

Cheers!
JoAnna
foreverinparadise.net

Kung Phoo said...

I know people like this.. and i stay away. i do not need validation on myself i am a very confident person.

Michele D said...

Seriously, I am starting to believe that your right. Social media and texting sure has made a difference. It's kinda sad!

Bonnie Gowen said...

Never really thought about that. Maybe it is gone. Thanks for the post.

Nicci said...

I think all of the social media posting has changed the way we communicate with each other. I'm sorry you had a awkward lunch. Maybe over time that co-worker will learn to listen other people too.

Krystal said...

People have forgotten how to have good conversation. They're all about themselves and not about the other person.

Danielle said...

I'm actually teaching the younger gen this without them realizing...they are already used to these "open ended" questions from their tests...so why not when i ask them out loud. ;)

Ann B said...

The art of conversation is definitely becoming a lost art. Taking a new employee to lunch is a great way to get to know them.

Alyssa Collazo said...

I'm really loving this post, thank you for sharing

Rebecca Swenor said...

Conversation is how we find out about each other. It is important I believe for all us to listen to other. The internet has changed so much how people communicate now. I believe it will impact how our children communicate with other a well.

Psycho Momma said...

You really hit the nail on the head with this one! Everyone is just obsessed with "me, me, me" No one takes time to get to know other people anymore.

Desafio said...

I think all this technology, has a major impact for the lack of actual conversation. I think people prefer to text and post in social media sites than actually engage in a conversation even on the phone.

Sharon Ruggieri said...

Amen sista! I couldn't agree more. these peeps tend to not get enough attention elsewhere and totally forget that a conversation includes more than one person participating. In the times I've caught myself talking I find a way to steer it back to where I'm asking questions. I wish more would do that

Andrea Kruse said...

I love a chance to get to know someone face to face. I could understand being awkward in a group, but on a lunch? Wow. Yes, conversation... true give and take conversation is an important art.

Alysia Casteels said...

I've said the exact same thing before as well. I'm sorry this ended up the way that it did, or that you had a terrible lunch- it seems that you took it in stride and took a lesson from it though. I've never really considered the homelife of someone who's like that before...Now, however, instead of just passing them off as self-involved and so forth, I may give them my ear and a bit of understanding too.

(even if it is a bit of an irritation and a let down sometimes lol)

Marielle Altenor said...

I tend to avoid conversations and small talks because I never know what to say. I don't know if I would say that it is lost. It depends who you are lucky (or unlucky) to have a conversation with.

Mommy Pehpot said...

Listening is always better than speaking :)

IF good conversation means exchanging of ideas, I think it's lost at all, you just need to find the people that still knows how to converse :)

Ashley Nicholas said...

People are so "me, me, me" nowadays. Sometimes it can be hard to get a word in!

Liz Martin said...

that's so sweet of you russ to take the time to make someone new feel welcome.

and i can't believe the new girl rattled on and on about herself. i probably would've tuned out after awhile. :P

Mia Foo said...

holding a good conversation is an art! many of us are actually socially inept and would have preferred staring at a computer screen or mobile phone screen rather than facing another human being.

Elizabeth O. said...

Nope, I don't think a good conversation is a lost art. There are just some people who don't know how to listen.

Danessa Foo said...

Wow, that must have been such a boring lunch for you. I agree that some people have lost the art of conversing with their date or just others. They are eager to "offload" their burdens without even thinking about the other person who has to listen. I pray that the current generations and generations to come learn to be polite and care for others genuinely. Thanks for sharing this lovely reminder.

Louise Banta said...

This is a nice reminder to each one of us to always stay humble and sensitive. This honestly made me look at how I converse and I admit, I have been to conversations where I talk about myself. Thank you Russ for the slap. :) I would be more cautious of my actions and words to people especially those I just met.

Pooja Kawatra said...

Beautiful post on how we actually do in the real life.. Nowadays technology has also made that communication and urge to talk to others almost impossible.

Nicol said...

many people find it easier to talk behind the screens than in person nowadays :/ me me me just makes my mind wonder if thats all were talking about

Fatemah Sajwani said...

I totally agree with you. I liked how you conveyed this message through the post.

Franc said...

That's a nice tradition to keep but I guess there are different way people present themselves. Communication is gone now especially with people's constant need to check their phones.

papaleng said...

An eye opener of sort. Nowadays, individuals tend to be always the 'speaker' and not even for a one conversation to be a 'listener'.

Sunshine Kelly said...

The same situation always happen when I talk to some of the bloggers at event. They just want to tell me their achievements, where the go and all the show off stuff. I just keep quiet and listen. Sometimes I wanted to tell then do I care about where you go, what you did with your boyfriends and such.

I do hope to have a more decent conversation next time.

OY HZ said...

Don't think holding a good conversation is an lost art. It depends on whether you have common interest / "click" well with the other party.

Tiffany Yong W.T. said...

It's true that not many people not know how to converse especially when they just met. And I usually will talk non-stop if the opposite party is someone who doesn't like to talk. So that it won't be that awkward...

Karen said...

Maybe you were with the wrong person that time. I believe not all people make themselves "God" in front of others, there are still people who cares to know what's going on with other.

Fernando Lachica said...

Coversation and poise plays a vital role in relationship and bonding. Well, it must a two-way entertaining conversation to put forward the bond and friendship.

Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen said...

Awww, that didn't turn out too well. If I was with that girl, I would have asked her if she wanted to know anything about me.