I have been working on talking less and listening more since I was in my late teens. Talking over people, or getting overexcited in conversation, has always been a weakness and “vice” of mine. Except, this is not a vice I take any sort of pleasure in. Rather the opposite, it is a subtle foe.

I am not unaware of the problem. Yes, that was a double negative. It’s much like when someone sets a goal to drink more water, and has some days where they don’t drink the amount of water they set out to drink. They’re not unaware of the fact that their goal was not met, they just usually bring awareness to the issue in retrospect. Then they get bummed out at themselves.

I feel like that when I walk away from conversations or social gatherings sometimes. It’s gradually gotten better than it used to be. I still have those moments where I wonder if I’ve stepped on someone’s thought, offended someone by talking too much, or squashed the possibility of getting something really good and helpful from another person’s perspective.

Why do I do it? Well, simply put, I get excited about sharing an idea I have in my own brain. Sometimes I am in the right state of mind to gauge whether it’s appropriate to share or not, and other times I don’t. It can happen when I’m tired, hungry, bored, distracted, or any other impediment to my most authentic state of being.

Today I had a few moments where I didn’t realize I was stepping on someone else’s words when I was. My girlfriend later had to point it out to me. She pointed it out as a helpful bit of feedback mind you, not as a chastisement. It’s nice having that in a partner when you’re out and about socially. You can keep each other accountable to make each other better.

However, I don’t like that I still have this tendency. I have found the more awareness, and present attention, I bring to the first 5 minutes of a conversation, the better I connect with the person and the more I can feel out their own conversational style. The conversation flows better, and it makes for a better time overall. And, I almost always walk away feeling good about whatever was said, even if we just talked about nothing in particular. To me, if I can walk away feeling like I contributed and absorbed an equal amount in a conversation…that is a form of success.