Thursday, July 7, 2011

Have you ever had a problem communicating?

This is the weirdest thing.  I fancy myself as a real people person who can talk to anyone.  I'm not like my sister Lori, who could tell her entire life story to a department store mannequin, but I'm a good talker and interact well.  That's pretty safe to say.  

Okay, so there's somebody I need to interact with occasionally and I'm not kidding, it is so freakin' awkward I can't wait for the exchange of communication to be over.  Like whatever I say just kind of lies suspended in the air as if I verbally farted and they're waiting for the stench to dissipate.  Forget making a joke of any kind--does not go over at all.  As the conversation continues I feel so increasingly uncomfortable that I start stammering and it gets harder to spit out my words and then I realize that I'm sounding like an idiot, which only componds the problem.  Then I start getting mad at myself because usually I don't give a shit what people think about me, but this one is just a hard nut to crack and I can't figure out how to deal with this person.

In the past I've known people who simply give you nothing back when you try to have a conversation with them.  If you ask them a question, they'll answer politely, but don't return the volley.  They don't ask you a question or comment any further, so you're stuck directing the conversation until someone else comes along and saves you.  This is not the same thing; this person will offer more, but there's always a slight pause first, as if what I'm saying is so unbelievably off base they don't know how to respond.

When I was working in the field of corporate outplacement, I led job search workshops to folks who had just been let go from their jobs--talk about a tough crowd!  But without fail, I was able to engage even the most angry and bitter participants.  I remember one man in particular who was so pissed off that he just sat in the back of the room with his arms folded over his chest and an I'm-gonna-kill-someone expression on his face.  At the end of our three days together, he hugged me.

The person I'm having trouble relating to is not someone I can avoid, is not an asshole and is actually nice.  I'm not losing sleep over this, but I just think it's so odd that I'm a freakin' Dale Carnegie with the rest of the world but can't form a cohesive sentence when this one is around. 

Have you ever had this problem communicating with someone?  How did you handle it?

9 comments:

Debbie said...

I can absolutely relate. I think it just boils down to chemistry. You know how you're attracted to a man and sometimes you're NOT attracted to a man ... even if he looks like Brad Pitt - no spark???? Chemistry. This person maybe nice and all but for some reason you're chemistry doesn't match. I know you're smart/articulate/able to communicate verbally AND WRITTEN. I have people that can make me feel awkward like that too ... And I'm fabulous LOL!

CHEMISTRY.

XOXO
Deb

Mellodee said...

Oh Boy, does this sound familiar!! Unfortunately my nemesis is my son-in-law. This makes it truly a problem. He has been married to my daughter for 13 years and he has NEVER initiated a converstation with me.

If I ask him a question, he will look at me for about 5 seconds, then say "Well, I mean," stare for another 5 seconds and finally come out with some response, but that's the end of it unless I ask another question! It's harder than pulling teeth! Try counting off ten seconds of silence...it takes forever!

I am not kidding or exagerating, I swear. My daughter told me that the pause is because he is thinking out exactly what he wants to say. Unfortunately, by the time he answers the question, I don't care anymore!

He is like this with pretty much everyone. A people-person he is NOT!!

Drives me nuts....

forjenssake said...

I completely understand this. There are times I never shut up and times I am so panicked with anxiety I can't even manage to nod a response. Then there's the times where I fear if I open my mouth someone is going to get a verbal bashing and I am just trying to save their dignity from my inevitable assault. I'm sure the person doesn't think you're an idiot, they probably just figure you're nervous or like so many of us have a zillion things going on and can't focus on the conversation. If it's not something that is required for work then I say it's perfectly fine if it's important well just meditate prior to the conversation or take a minute to catch your breath and refocus. Any one who can get up and get on stage and make people laugh can definitely overcome the occasional "stage-fright" conversation. Good luck.

R. Jacob said...

a rule of thumb when selling, after saying what you need to say, you must wait for a response. At first it will seem painful, the wait will see to take forever to end. He who talks first loses.
The person you are waiting to say something is thinking through what you have told them. There will not be a giant leap of chemistry but it will work.
Be calm, it will be alright. 30 plus years of sales talking!

That Janie Girl said...

Usually, it's just insecurity on their part.

It will probably break, and I don't sweat it. I figure their attitude is not about me. At all.

Mike Dennis said...

Shoot him. That way you do away with the exception and you can say you relate easily to everyone.

Mandy said...

Hi Linda :)

I'm just trying to figure out what kind of weirdo you would have trouble relating to. I kind of agree with Mike that you should just shoot him/her, but then you would be all like "oh, I am so sorry, are you ok?" and they would be dead and wouldn't answer back and that silence would torment you forever!!!

Seriously though, I have this problem too. It used to bother me more, but then I realized I don't have to be the conversation facilitator for those awkward interactions. It's like being sucked into a black hole though, with you looking for something to say and them returning the blank stare and an occasional "huh." Have you ever tried just smiling and slightly nodding back at them until they say something?

Mandy

PS Jeff & I are gonna try to make it to LV next month. Are you gonna be around? :)

Anonymous said...

From what I've experienced, this seems to be a common trait with Taurus men. For some reason, they have virtually little to say - EVER! Great in bed, but oh-so-very duulllllllllllll outside of it!

Lori Biker said...

From the person who talks to cardboard cut outs, I think you are afraid this person doesn't like you. You are used to people liking you, wanting to talk to you and look at you and laugh with you and really want more of you! This person baffles you because you aren't getting that from them, you are not used to people not wanting more of you! Maybe they just don't know what to do with someone like you! Their loss!