The art of "great conversation" is becoming a lost art. Years ago, people gathered for tea parties and dances and sat around talking and learning about each other. They knew the value of asking questions and taking an interest in others. Unfortunately, many people today are so "self-absorbed" that the entire conversation is about them, their work, their kids, etc. How do you handle such people?
Before we answer that question, let us understand what makes a good conversation. First, Dale Carnige said, "It's much easier to become interested in others than it is to convince them to be interested in you."Therefore, we need to forget our self and focus on the other person.Second, find out what their interests are. Third, ask questions. Fourth, listen to what they have to say.
As for those people who do not know any better...
Acceptance is key as everyone is on his or her own journey. My best friend said, "Your level of serenity is in proportion to your expectation of others." Instead of expecting them to be more involved and ask about your life, we need to accept where they are and have compassion for them. They are the ones missing out.
In Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, basic needs are:
Food, shelter, sex and sleepSafety, stability belonging, love Esteem, achievements and responsibilitySelf-actualization is achieved when a person seeks their potential and grows emotionally...(Only 2% of the population reaches self-actualization. Dr. Sally Valentine told me I was self-actualized years ago as I worked on several assaults with her.) Obviously if one level is not met, and there is difficulty paying rent or purchasing food, all other areas are affected.
I hope this gives you more perspective. If you read my article, Becoming More Balanced, you understand these folks are actually unbalanced. However, if you recognize that you talk about yourself a lot, try meeting your needs better. Recently, three clients called to say they received better jobs as result of our one- hour consultation. Have you considered working with a Bliss counselor to improve your life? Whatever is missing may be found in one session. Also, try practicing thought-provoking questions in front of a mirror you'll be amazed how much easier conversation comes to you. Then when you are with someone, all you need to do is listen. As Paul Tillech quotes, "The first duty of love is to listen."
Trying to learn as much as you can about the people you meet without being invasive is beneficial. People love to talk about themselves. Who are you going to talk to today and really take an interest in? Listen, ask questions and show you take an interest in them. Then you can truly say you are a good listener and it's not about you, it's about the two of you.