Conversational Narcissism ...

I am still thinking a lot about the idea of listening ...

I have been especially struck by the concept of "conversational narcissism"

wherein people use conversations, not to listen, but as an excuse to find a way

(ANY WAY!)

to talk about themselves.

Once you become aware of this, it is so easy (and so darn painful) to see it in yourself,

and to see it in others.

It was a sociologist named Charles Derber who first observed this phenomenon.

This is how it is described in one of my favorite blogs:

Conversational narcissism is when "people allow their self obsession to manifest in their conversational practices.

Rather than listening to what the other person has to say and responding accordingly, many people shift the discussion to themselves."

I have been trying to experiment as I listen these days ...

I think to myself,

"Put Alice aside ..."

"Just listen ..."

"Ask questions to understand ..."

"Encourage them to tell more of their story ..."

"Be curious ..."

I mostly fail.

But it feels more and more like this could become a way of listening that has real power.

Next time someone starts talking with you,

listen.

Really, really, really 

listen.

You may be amazed at how amazing another human being actually is.

 

Tags: Called to Community, Living Hospitably