to feel like most people are only interested in talking about themselves?(42 Posts)
I seem to be around so many people at the moment who are only really interested in talking about themselves, asking few questions. I like to think I ask questions and am quite equal in conversation - being interested in people and their children. I am a good listener so I don't know if I attract these types as I will listen to all their crap too politely! But even mums I don't know so well and see in the street seem to bang on about themselves... thoughts?
I agree. I know quite a few people who have never asked a single thing about me, ever.
I have to listen to them at length though.
I would answer, but... I'm busy talking about me.
Yeah but enough about what you think let's talk about me
I have noticed a lot of this recently. Last year I was in hospital and suffering in pain. I told the nurse and rather than offer sympathy she talked AT me about her various pains. It certainly wasn't in a sharing to make the situation better moment it was very definitely her wanting to talk about herself AT someone.
I blame Facebook. People talk out into thin air AT people and have the Internet equivalent of Hmmmmm and yeahs back in the form of thumbs up and short replies. This is now translated to real life conversation.
Anyway, you were saying?
Maybe it's a 'mums' thing. As in, people whose whole identity is being 'a mum'. I've been retraining for a career change and have met some lovely people via this route, people who may have children but, as we're all there to work and learn, have other things to discuss. Conversation flows well with lots of people giving and taking. So far so nice. No darn kid chat too, lovely
I find the poolside to be the weirdest spot ever for chatting. School gates, people arrive and leave fairly swiftly, no chatting time, but by the pool? 30 minutes. I genuinely stick my head down and avoid eye contact but some people...
"HI! How old is yours?"
Oh, ok. I smiled and replied. Maybe I should talk, I thought? It'll be nice.
"Mine is [age]," she gushed, "She's just an incredible swimmer. Utterly amazing. Her older sister is even better, see, and we take her on Wednesdays. Then at the weekend they have drama, they're just SO creative, you know? We go here and there, then they go to their dads, and then this one time they had a play, and then they're wonderful painters and singers and then..."
And OH MY GOD she just kept going. I was gobsmacked. I had said NOTHING whatsoever and she wasn't even leaving a gap for me to go "mm." It was getting to a point I would no longer be able to hold a neutral facial expression. I could feel my eyebrows rising up and up...
"...because, you know, we really do have to push them to do these things don't we? All these opportunities, they don't know how lucky they are, so she's starting ballet next week and tap the week after, then a summer course in..."
Thoughts in my mind, like - can she breathe? Is she intaking breath? Also, when will she realise I haven't said anything? Does she mind? Will she laugh? Will she ask me about my kid - not that I'm going to monologue, but just general politeness?
Anyway, I had half a fucking hour of that.
The next week a SECOND parent sidled up to me, did the ol' "How old's your kid?" opener, and then the moment I had ceased the formation of the number she was off too, about breastfeeding and mastitis and sleeplessness and her other kid and her family and...
I mean, I get it, it gets lonely and we get outside and feel a bit of an urge to REALLY ENJOY this new person to talk to, but some people take it way overboard.
Anyway. I've talked too much. How old's your kid? :D
My mother is also terrible for this. I've turned it into a little mental game - I sit there in silence while she talks and talks, and I tick off little boxes like "told me the same story 3 times" and "will now repeat in detail what she's having for dinner the next 4 nights."
People are selfish. It helps to relate to someone if you can use your own experiences. I think that, genuinely, everyone would rather talk about themselves or something that relates to themselves and only listen to people out of politeness. I don't understand what's wrong with it though? It's a normal human behaviour
OP I know exactly what you mean. I get this all the time. People are just 'ME ME ME' all the time nowadays. There are certain people that I actually try to avoid bumping into as I get a rather weary of hearing everything about them,but showing zero interest in what I might have to say.
I agree that FB has made this much worse.
I always wish that a third person would come along and say to each person, "Now tell me what you know about the other person", just to see them flounder as they realise they know nothing at all, not even if you speak their language.
People talk all about themselves because it feels good (to them at least!)
Part of the brain lights up when people talk about themselves that's similar to the 'reward' feeling we get when we do something we enjoy.
Loads of research on this if you want to Google more about it...
I had a 'friend' years ago who became more and more like this, one day after a particularly long conversation at least an hour with her banging on about her life, kids and various issues she paused probably to take a breath, at which point I said to her 'do you realise that you have not once asked how I, DP and DC are, or anything about our lives? I don't think that says much about our friendship' I ended the call and have not spoken to her since (10+ years ago)
DP said he was surprised I hadn't done it earlier!
My SIL does this. Everything is her, her, her. Rings her parents all the time and never asks how they are.
Facebook, selfies, reality TV...we live in a very ego-centric world. I'm not on FB or any other social media site that promotes me, my family or what I'm having for lunch.
At work you know as soon as anyone asks about your weekend all they really want to do is tell you about theirs.
I had a self obsessed friend who spared no detail of her life. When I tried to talk to her about the then recent death of a parent she actually said "Can we change the subject? it's a bit depressing".
Have I ever told you about my latest holiday adventure? No? You'd love it. I'm so interesting and I do things that other people only dream about.
YANBU - the art of conversation is something that we should put on the curriculum
Yes. I have come home from evenings out that I had looked forward knowing so much about everyone else's life and realised not a single person asked about me. It's a bit of an 'oh' moment, especially if you do have things you want to share. Having said that I'm incredibly polite and like to put people at ease by asking about them so it's probably all my own fault. Boring though.
My brother does this.
On and on about his stuff, work, illness, kids etc. Then he'll finally say how are you? I get about a minute then he says 'Well, I'll leave you to it' and puts the phone down!
As someone who likes to share and is self obsessed it's terrifically helpful if someone I am talking to actually VOLUNTEERS some information about themselves rather than expecting me to do all the legwork asking them about it. How'm I supposed to know what bit of their lives is most interesting to them or what they are burning to talk about?
Just firmly say "yes, I had an experience much like that the other day" and start telling about your own stuff! Bonus points if it's funny or novel. 😉
Ha that was meant to be strikethrough but just made me look even more self obsessed! Do tell me if that's ever happened to you.
However, I have always thought it was like this. People are 100x more interested in themselves than others.
It's just that it is rude and not socially acceptable to talk about yourself all the time.
YANBU but speak up! Volunteer some information about yourself and lead the conversation rather than just passively listening and waiting to be asked a question.
YANBU! I hate it. My SIL is TERRIBLE for this and I think it's so rude
For those of you saying 'speak up', those of us brought up with manners just can't! We are used to conversations that go:
Ask a question
Person asked answers
Person asked then asks own question (and doesn't talk all over reply)
Original questioner/conversation starter get to talk
And it should continue bouncing back and forth like that so both parties get to have a pleasant time. Much as you lot enjoy talking about yourselves, literally no one enjoys hearing it to the exclusion of anything they might have to contribute. Manners are GREAT.
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