This post was inspired by Kellie. Thank you for your insightful comments!
The one side, the only side I should say, of the N is the N. No more no less. And through a lot of the N’s blah, blah screams…what about me? Well, what about us? They can hog the conversation, never ask you a single question and to make it an even more delightful interaction they may find it necessary to verbally attack after listening to them for 57 minutes straight. And you know 57 minutes have gone by!
When I started looking deeper into this subject I found that my Ns even hog the conversation in e-mails. As if one way communication couldn’t get even worse, nope, the N found a way.
I struggled to explain to myself or even write about it because how do you describe the manner or technique that they have mastered to suck time. And most of the time it is so subtle you are left noticing it happened only after the 57 minutes are up.
I went on a hunt…voracious for more information because hogging a conversation isn’t just an N thing…it is an art that many have mastered. I welcome any insights you may have on the art of the one-sided conversation.
In my hunt I came across an article that beautifully describes this art form: Conversational Narcissism (click here for the full article). I highlight parts of the article below.
I followed the old dictum of listening more than talking and asking the other person engaging questions about themselves. This is supposed to charm your conversation partner. I guess it worked because my friend talked about himself for an hour straight and didn’t ask me a single question.
From friendly advice to being a better leader tips…we are told it is better to listen but even this good deed goes punished with a conversational narcissist. So, then what exactly is the art of a good conversation:
A good conversation is an interesting thing; it can’t be a solely individual endeavor—it has to be a group effort. Each individual has to sacrifice a little for the benefit of the group as a whole and ultimately, to increase the pleasure each individual receives.
An interesting definition, by sacrificing the amount of attention one wants or needs the actual end result is more pleasurable than if one hogged the conversation. Maybe it is something you understand through life experiences…but somehow the conversational narcissist has forgotten that point. More is more.
The article further goes into competition efforts some friends may say during a conversation or even shift conversations back to them often. This shift response example they use reminds me of Ns in competition…the manner can be so unnoticeable at first:
James: I’m thinking about buying a new car.
Rob: Oh yeah? I’m thinking about buying a new car too.
Rob: Yup, I just test drove a Mustang yesterday and it was awesome.
When you try and speak in an Ns presence you encounter the shift response. I begin talking about myself and bam! I realize we are back to her/his problem. The worse for me has been when I am going through something rough…maybe not awful but just a rough period (like job hunting) and somehow it gets a brush off and the N feels the need to discuss how their job is awesome and are looking for the next opportunity. And I begin to feel guilty! Guilty! because I have somehow neglected their feelings and their needs to express their thoughts.
Why? Giving up on the quest to understand…I go to my next question: what’s the out? The escape for an unhealthy conversation? Get the convo back to u?
Well, excluding the No Contact solution, I have tried some things that have no guarantees in working but have giving me a temporary relief with the conversational narcissist. Any thoughts on an out are welcome!
– when you get a chance to talk, talk about something boring (this usually can end the conversation)
-I have done the shift response with an N many times, it was like playing tennis…then it was like why are we talking?
-was silent, no nods or uh, uh or supporting comments during their monologue
– set the clock (tell yourself to leave after 1 hour); you have to be somewhere else
What’s your take on the conversational narcissist?