Social Messaging Etiquette
(5 Tips for the conversationally inept)
Why, hello there. Are you an abysmal conversationalist? You probably don’t think so. Well, that’s okay, buck-a-roo. I’m here to set you straight. You see, I am an introvert. More specifically the kind of introvert that prefers written communication. As of late, I’ve been witness to some conversational atrocities, and I’m straight up tired of this embarrassing human deficit. So here is some advice for those clueless conversationalists. Maybe even some much needed validation for their victims. As we tend to lean toward being a selfish species, keep in mind that it takes cognitive effort to engage in a balanced interaction. (Because I’m lazy, I will be referring to the Conversational Partner as ‘CP’)
1. Good conversation isn’t about YOU.
Have you ever walked away from an hour and a half ‘conversation’ where the main topic, and speaker for that matter, was the other person?
Where your major contributions were,
“lol” (at appropriate intervals),
or the expectation of questions that accommodate further blathering?
Conversation is the art of give and take. Learn it, or be secretly resented by CP’s (at least the ones who will continue to put up with your endearing narcissism.)
2. Can I offer you a mirror for this one-sided conversation?
Don’t ask a question just because you want to answer it yourself. It’s pretty obvious once you neglect to show an inkling of interest in the response of your CP.
3. Ignore me one more time!
If someone says something to you, acknowledge it. Don’t disappear into the ether.
Unless, of course, your home has suddenly been invaded by scientifically engineered ninja cats and you need to duck out of conversation to defeat them. Even then- it’d be cool for you to let your CP know later that it was nothing personal. You just got into a hairy situation.
Quitting a conversation without a heads up is the equivalent of saying, “You bore me SO badly, you’re worth less than a response.”
Even if that IS the sentiment- It’s better you SAY it (preferably with human decency- aka-tact) than pull an insulting Houdini.
Also rude? Not giving acknowledgement to something someone said and jumping forward in topic.
Max: What are you up to today?
Ted: Not much. Just choking on the apparent meaninglessness of my life. What are you up to today?
Max: I have a doctor’s appointment at 4.
I could be wrong here. But I think, I THINK, the human thing to do might be to respond to the issue presented. Although it was deceivingly casual, you may want to show you heard them and care. This works with less dramatic topics as well.
Ted: I don’t know what I would do without coffee.
Max: Can I run this joke by you?
I guess Max thought Ted was talking to himself. Or didn’t give a cow’s pie and has no manners. What could he have done differently?
Ted: I don’t know what I would do without coffee.
Max: It seems to be a life line for a lot of people. Hey, can I run this joke by you?
Bam! Easy peasy. You can do it, I know you can.
Which leads me to my next suggestion.
4. Try a little empathy
If you happen to be cold and dead inside and become paralyzed at any show of emotion, here is a suggestion.
Just show you care with simple phrases like,
“I’m sorry that happened to you.”
“That sounds awful.”
Or if there is an aggravator plaguing your CP, it’s usually safe to insult said aggravator. The more colorful the insult, the better.
Some of my favorites? There’s the classic,
“Oh no he didn’t!?”
*See how I threw in that emoticon for added effect.
“May he burn with the fire of a thousand suns!”
“I know a place that sells cyanide for cheap.”
Stuff like that.
Your support will be felt and appreciated.
If you’re a superstar at thinking only about yourself, pretend that what they are experiencing is happening to you. Oh dear God, no!!! Not you! How would that make YOU feel? Now comfort yourself-only pretend they are you.
5. Don’t be a leech.
If you keep someone around because they have a compassionate heart, generous ear and they laugh at your jokes- that’s okay.
Really, we all need people like that.
But if you are using them to boost your ego and have no intentions of returning those efforts, there is a special place in the lake of fire for your self serving vampiric derrière.
Now spread the word and pray these wise tidbits penetrate the minds of clueless conversationalists all around. Have a lovely day!
3 thoughts on “Social Messaging Etiquette”
You know what’s awful is when you’re pretty pumped about what someone is saying and then they just shut it down. The disbelief and distrust everyone carries around is so mind-numbingly boring. No one ever believes that anyone really wants to know the ins and outs of every thought. Real conversation follows:
Me: “Oh my gosh! That’s amazing! Tell me more about what you were thinking when he looked up slowly at you, pointed the pen, squinted his eyes, and looked back down!”
CP: “Yah, it was was weird…”
Me: “It was weird?! Well yah it was weird… what a day!”
Me: (Why would you tell me this story and then not associate feelings and ideas with it?!!! I reject your “conversation!”) 😉
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That IS awful! Some people are so oblivious of their audience! lol!
One of my things….
When I’m standing with someone, ask questions about how they enjoyed the movie we just saw, or a game, or anything really. they reply (in-depth or not) and don’t bother to reciprocate the question/interest on what my view/feelings were. It feels like it happens all the time!
Let me ask you about your day and then when you are done telling me your long mostly boring story, please ignore my life completely. Thanks “friend” you really show you care… not at all.