We’ve all been in that moment before, having a total brain fart and forgetting that persons name or completely blanking on everything they have just said to you. You do a little nod to acknowledge you have listened, as to not come off a total ignorant muppet but you know damn well you didn’t hear a single word they had to say.
“I’m too nervous to talk in conversations but it makes me a really good listener”
Why is it that us SA sufferers pride ourselves on being good listeners, when actually we’re pretty shit at it? The reality is, most of the time we are far too internally focused to recognise what is truly going on around us.
We tell ourselves that everyone is laughing at us behind our back or staring at us or the person we’re having a conversation with is judging us, we’re afraid that we look weird or everything we say is going to come out wrong, we’re afraid if we give eye contact that they’re gonna see right into our soul and source out the fear!!
It’s all bollocks by the way, our head may be telling us all those things but it couldn’t be more wrong.
What’s actually happening is you’re so inside your head that you’re not even properly listening to the other side of the conversation. You’re not taking in any of the information because your brain is too darn busy being all self critical.
You might even be giving short replies, avoiding eye contact, not paying that much attention and that can come off as rude or impatient in the eyes of the other person. You are actually doing yourself major disservice by worrying so much about yourself and how to act in the situation.
So what should you do instead?
Relax your body, drop the safety behaviours for a moment, look at them directly into the facey parts!
Make an effort to concentrate on what that other person is saying, ask that person questions about themselves, when they ask you questions or open the conversation up for you try to give them a bit more than “yes” or “it was okay”…. and for goodness sake, pay attention to them when they tell you their name because it’s really bloody embarrassing when you’ve met a person more than 10 times and you still can’t introduce them in a group encounter!
I know it’s easier said than done so I will write some guides out very soon on what to ask people in conversations to keep it flowing, and how to recognise your own safety behaviours.
In the mean time, have you noticed yourself becoming internally focussed in conversations? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below.