I love when a comedic act brings a sense of clarity to the table. Most improv is just based on everyday life. Finding the funny in the mundane, finding the joke in the moment of frustration, and cracking a smile when all you can do is shake your head. Today’s post is inspired by Brian Regan. The guy is awesome. Watching his “I walked on the moon” bit, something struck me pretty hard and completely changed the way I have a conversation.
Ever have a conversation with a stranger, trying to find something to relate to each other and at the same time you find yourselves constantly interrupting? Or a talk with a colleague that almost turns into a competition? This is where the “Me Monster” shows up. That one person that always feels like they can one-up you. Unprompted boasting of accomplishments and achievements, endless stories of how difficult an experience was. Some people find the “me monsters” fascinating, while others just find them annoying. I, myself, have learned to sympathize.
The fact that they feel they have to boast and interrupt only screams one thing to me: lack of self confidence. They feel they need to do these things so that you will like them, or that you will see they relate to you. In a way, you do, but the nature of the “Me Monster” just can’t be likable. And here’s why…
Every word that comes out of their mouth is evidence that they didn’t listen to anything you said. The whole time you are talking, they are waiting for that perfect moment to slide in and steal your conversation. The whole time you are talking, they are concentrating on the next thing to say. All eyes on them. I,I,I,me,me,me,I,me,I… and you are there left feeling deflated. You were their opening act.
Sadly this pertains to most of us. Maybe not to this extent, but a little bit. I know I have found myself interrupting people with a side story to their conversation in hopes they see I empathize. But really, it just means I’m a bad listener. This is how I have changed my conversations. I no longer interject with my little anecdote. I just open my ears and let them finish. Take it in and then respond in a way they know I heard them. I won’t lie, it is absolutely a conscious effort. Almost tongue biting at times. But the payoff is worth the sacrifice.
So beware the Me Monster, she’s inside us all.
Photo Credit: SkyFireXII via Creative Commons.
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