There are tens of thousands of bloggers out there, coachers, influencers, self-taught psychologists, gurus, shamans, celebrities. Each has a solution to your problem and an answer to any possible question. I am in that list too (wannabe blogger).
Yesterday I finally felt that I now know what works and what doesn’t and can sift through shitty advice and a piece of advice that actually works (for me).
I was listening to a short podcast while walking about friendships and communication. I know, I know… it’s time to work and practice, and I’ll get to that. The advice I couldn’t stand to listen (but kept listening for too long because I was taking photos at the same time while balancing on stones in the river) sounded like this: “You should eliminate 4 words from your dictionary- I, me, my, myself – and only talk about the other person, only use “you”. Taking about “myself” is the most interesting topic for all people”.
I already imagine a few kids who don’t know better becoming serial interrogators who provide no information in a conversation, make the other person feel mentally violated and end up experiencing a very one-sided conversation. There are exceptions to it (like when your friend is in a bad place and needs to be listened to, but again – not every friend will want to be interrogated) and there are people who will take advantage of you (narcissists who will make all your relationship about them and you’ll give it to them on a silver platter).
That is one bad advice! I am not a conversation master, but even when I am on a date and enjoy that a guy is interested in me (genuinely!), I don’t want to be the only one talking and walk with this mime by my side who is a frikin closed book. I was never interested in the silent type of guy.
I laughed to myself, that I am so far away from this stage, that would have made sense at certain points and might still make too sometimes, but if another person is not interested in me and I am not trying to get something out of that conversation, then screw this. I’ll find someone who is interested in me. That’s a good feeling to have: accept that some people are just not interested in you and find someone who is. Would have solved all my problems, especially in relationships if I understood that sooner instead of listening to all those break up and relationship gurus who can make a guy fall in love with you. Ridiculous…
Speaking about the knowledge… If you don’t apply anything in practice, you will not wake up one day having mastered the social skills. They cannot be learned like a math formula. And if it can – that will look really weird and I want to see that.
Riding the tide of revelations from the other day I decided to start practising them. Today was my friend’s birthday and usually I would write something with lots of you’s and lots of I’s, still making it 50% about me, my wishes and happenings. Today I consciously eliminated everything about me (except the things that would make her feel better such as “I like that you”). There was nothing about me and it was all genuine and all about that.
It wasn’t easy. It took me more than an hour of honest sitting down in front of a notepad to write all the right words. But in the end, it felt great. I wasn’t doing it for my own pleasure or to prove something, or to be a bit of an asshole that I am sometimes. I sent the message and teared up because she teared up and loved it. And I wasn’t happy because I made something great. I was happy because she was happy, and this little something was not about me.
I am not that selfish, I don’t think. I am simply too preoccupied with myself and things about me. This feels like a step forward and cementing my new knowledge.