Tag Archives: conversation

The subtle enemy of genuine conversation

Business executive discussing with her client

I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution this year.  This isn’t because I don’t like making them, or because I don’t stick with them, or because I don’t have anything that I want to change about myself.  It’s simply because nothing good stuck out as a resolution I wanted to make.  However, I do have things I want to change about myself.  They aren’t related to the new year…they are just things I’m working on.  One of these areas is sarcasm.

I have to admit…I think sarcasm is pretty awesome.  It is the easiest route to hilariousness for me (which always seems like a good destination).  But, one of the most important things for me is having a good, real, quality, substantial relationship with Julia.  To get this sort of relationship, it requires GENUINE interaction.  It’s too easy for our relationship to consist of, “how was your day; how was your day”, then eat dinner and watch tv until we go to bed.  It requires effort to have meaningful conversations and experiences together.  I’ve found that nothing derails a genuine conversation more than sarcasm.  And in contrast, when I AM genuine…when I listen to her well and share about things that matter and what’s going on in my life…the opposite happens.  It draws us even closer together.

Sarcasm is essentially selfishness in the form of conversation.  You say something…not to communicate information, but to make people laugh.  And you’re trying to make them laugh…not to bring joy to their lives, but to feel good about yourself.  So essentially, you’re spending time saying words devoid of substance with the sole purpose of helping you feel better about yourself.  I realize that may sound harsh, but I’m merely sharing my experience here.  I’m sure other people can be different.

I don’t want my conversations to be meaningless.  I want them to have purpose.  When I speak, I want my words to be filled with encouragement, love, and wisdom.  After we talk, I want people to feel understood and more alive about who they are.  To do this, limiting the sarcasm is an important step.

My challenge to you:

When you talk to someone, make your words matter.  Try to add something to THEIR life with what you say.  And keep the sarcasm to a minimum.  Yes, it’s an easy way to be funny, but it is the enemy of genuine conversation.

Something I want to change about myself

imageI think I am a pretty funny guy.  But, not really in the sense you would normally think.  I’m a pretty introverted person who stays quiet in large groups.  But, in smaller settings, I’m often ready to unload with amusing quips.  What’s strange is that I do best in improper locations like hospitals or funeral homes.  It drives Julia crazy.  I’m always whispering things to her that at least I find to be hilarious.  Often I have to tell them to her after the fact so as not to be too inappropriate.

But, I also find this happens in serious conversations.  In general I’m not very good at talking about feelings or serious topics of importance.  My eyes start to go dry like they do in shopping malls.  It’s medically proven…I’m not making it up.  Basically I zone out for a bit.  But…I still listen, and every once in a while I think of something hilarious to say and BOOM, I drop it.  It’s great.  Then, I go dormant for a while until BOOM…another zinger!  So, when all is said and done, there has been an awesome conversation about…something…interrupted intermittently by me trying to be funny.  Mission accomplished!…right?

Now, as funny as I think I’m being…I’m really not that funny.  It’s probably actually more annoying than anything.  And what I find is that when I’m trying to be funny, I leave no impact of significance on others.  I WANT to be able to have meaningful conversations with my wife and others.  I WANT to be able to encourage people and make a difference in their lives.  But, when the only substance I offer is jokes, I’m failing miserably.

So, I’m working on it.  I’m working on being real.  I’m working on listening.  There is nothing wrong with saying funny things.  I just don’t want it to be all that I offer of myself.  So my challenge to myself, and anyone else who may fall into this category, is to remember to be real.  Developing a real relationship with your wife or other people takes conversations of substance.  For me, this requires effort.  If you’re the same way, I encourage you to work on it too.