Passive conversational narcissism ...

What, there's more?

More than one way to be narcissistic in our listening?

Yup.

We can actively try to turn conversations to ourselves - this is active conversational narcissism.

But we can also passively refuse to really listen to another human being.

This is how Charles Derber describes it:

"Passive conversational narcissism entails neglect of supportive questions at all discretionary points and extremely sparse use of them throughout conversation.

Listening behavior takes place but it is passive.

There is little attempt to draw others out or assume other forms of active listening.

This creates doubt in the other regarding the interest of their topics or their right to attention.

A second very common minimal use practice involves the … delay of background acknowledgements.

Although weaker than supportive questions, background acknowledgements such as ‘yeah’ or ‘uh huh’ are nonetheless critical cues by which speakers gauge the degree of interest in their topics."

How often does this happen in your life?

A person starts to speak to you, you gauge their importance to you, your level of interest in what they are saying ...

and then you ACT like you are listening,

but you refuse to ask them a follow-up question,

you barely look them in the eye,

you don't even nod your head or say 'uh-huh' as a cue to them to keep going.

You THINK you are listening,

you may even congratulate yourself on not shifting the conversation toward yourself,

but in no way do you make the person feel listened to.

In fact, just the opposite happens.

Your lack of interest, response, question-asking or non-verbal approval

causes the person talking with you to conclude you are uninterested,

maybe even that they are uninteresting,

and they move on.

Conversation over!

Now you can check Facebook or Instagram to see what your "real" friends are saying ...

Ouch.

 

Tags: Called to Community, Living Hospitably, Developing a Rule of Life