Competitive conversation

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone where you’re both talking, but you aren’t listening to what they’re saying? You just want to be heard and listened to, without needing to give attention to whatever their problem is. Whatever your friend is talking about doesn’t seem that important anyway. Sound familiar? Maybe not. What if you flip it though? Let’s see…

Have you ever been talking to someone but whenever you finished a comment, they didn’t acknowledge what you said? They just flipped the subject to what they wanted to talk about. You aren’t even sure they’re in the same conversation as you, they don’t seem to care at all! You don’t feel listened to and you have to fight to bring the conversation back to where you want it… Maybe that sounds more realistic.

I call this competitive conversation. Both people desperately want to be heard, but can’t tear their mind away from themselves to consider the other persons issue. You just talk at each other and follow your own line of conversation, even if it means you’re basically ignoring your speech partner. You’re just butting heads trying to get your point across to someone else who feels they aren’t being listened to either. So what should do you do in these situations?

Now, it might seem like you’re not loving yourself if you listen to them, and we all know that in this world that’s all that matters right? If I drop my point and give them attention, I’ll never be listened to! I’ve certainly had those thoughts. I will even admit that sometimes when I try to do the right thing and set my own issues aside while I help them, I become resentful if we don’t get back to talking about what I want. You may ask, why should I have to be the bigger person and give up what I want to give them what they want? Why can’t they do it?

You see, there’s a problem with that. If they gave up what they wanted for you, they’d get into exactly the same situation you’re trying to avoid. Unfortunately, it looks like a lose-lose situation. But I don’t think that by giving them attention, you’re somehow devaluing yourself. Once you actually engage with what they want to talk about, you may find you can work through it quickly because they feel heard. You’ll feel good that you were able to help them. Then if that topic is resolved, you can come back to what you wanted.

Now, I won’t hide the possibility that you won’t get the chance to bring the conversation back around to yourself. What should you do then? Is putting their needs before yours worth the risk, if there’s this possibility that you won’t get your turn at all?

I think it’s still the way to go. Give your full attention. Ultimately, you are accountable for your actions towards yourself and others. If you can honestly say you were there for them, you have done nothing wrong and no one can ask more. Now, I’m not such a tyrant to tell you that you don’t need to be heard. You matter just as much as your conversation partner. You do need to express yourself. But we must all look out for each other and give each other the opportunity to talk things out, knowing we are each being listened to. If we do this, then everyone will get their chance to speak to their hearts content until they are satisfied.

Beware of competitive conversations, and remember that you will probably be on both sides at one point or another. Care for one another and listen attentively. When you have your chance, do not steal the spotlight. If I were to summarise all this at risk of oversimplifying, stick to the golden rule.

Love you all.

Stay safe,


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