A Short Rant About Conversations With People Who Lack Self-awareness

~ ~ ☹️ ~ ~

BEGIN [a don’t shoot the messenger] RANT

Let’s talk about something regarding people whose lack of self-awareness and conversational style is getting on my nerves this holiday season.

To wit, of late I have twice found myself chatting with a person who says something to the effect of: Here is what happened to me, it is an example of A.

I have then replied by saying: I believe you and agree with your assessment that this is an example of A.  I say this because this is what they’ve told me.

I am not twisting their words.

I am demonstrating understanding and EMPATHY.

At which point I’ve been told that I am wrong: that this situation is not an example of A, it is an example of B.  Why would I suggest otherwise?

Then they glare or snarl at me, she who has repeated back to them that which they said.  I have not embellished what they said nor have I dismissed it.

I have paid attention to them, been STRAIGHTFORWARD– and dare I say KIND to listen to their woes.

And what is my reward for being nice?  Criticism.  As if I am responsible for what happened to them, which I am not.

What I am guilty of, however, is being a mirror that has reflected back to them, in their own words, how they are viewing their reality. And for this, I am made to suffer their crabbiness, their querulousness, their low-level wrath.

[Yes, I just used the thesaurus. Can you tell?]

I’ve no idea about how to handle this kind of RIDICULOUS conversational style, but I do find that I am less inclined to ever want to speak with these people again.

And perhaps that is what they want, for me to go away taking my ACTIVE listening skills and my mirror of truth with me.

So be it, says the introvert.

END [a don’t shoot the messenger] RANT

~ ~ 🤨 ~ ~

Questions of the Day

Thinking about the rant above, have you ever been sniped at for agreeing with, then repeating back, that which someone just said to you?

If so, how do you handle the conversation in the moment and your feelings about it? Does this make you feel peeved, for instance?

If this has not happened to you, can I be friends with you and your friends? Pretty please. 

~ ~ 🤓 ~ ~

202 thoughts on “A Short Rant About Conversations With People Who Lack Self-awareness

  1. Oh you are kind and doing things by the book. (The mirror speech technique – so appropriate – somehow reminds me of the old Disney Sleeping Beauty Queen scenes and I had to laugh. Poor trapped mirror I always thought – stuck with that woman) I’ve given up in situations like that – it seems they only want to rant and hear themselves talk and how dare you try to interrupt their monologue. Run, mirror, run! ( enjoyed the thesaurus!!! OK I’m easily amused) Fun post.

    Liked by 4 people

    • philmouse, you’ve got this figured out. I love your reference to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. I remember that movie. I’ve no interest in starting disagreements and you’re right, ’tis best to run away from such folks. Still I feel irritated by the whole thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember learning the technique of mirrored conversations, but I stopped doing it once it wasn’t being judged by a clinical supervisor. Maybe I still do it from time to time without being conscious of it. Hard to say. I think in a situation like the one you describe, I’d be more likely to laugh, and head off to the grocery store or whatever.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda, as an introvert who doesn’t want to talk about myself I use mirrored conversational techniques often because rational people seem to feel comfortable hearing their own thoughts repeated back. Like you I do it without being conscious about it, just to be friendly, supportive, a good person. I like your idea of wandering away from such people, going to the grocery. 😉

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Wow. I don’t blame you for not wanting to hang out with folks like that. How unpleasant and frustrating. I have some friends and family members who don’t want to be reminded of certain words they said or actions they took years after the fact, but none who say I’m twisting their words if I repeat them back immediately.

    I shouldn’t be surprised, though. That’s the same sort of cognitive dissonance that’s going on all over the country when it comes to the Jan. 6th insurrection and COVID deniers. My personal favorites are the evangelical forced birthers who scream “my body, my choice!” when protesting vaccine and mask mandates.

    Liked by 4 people

    • AutumnAshbough, you said it, it’s frustrating and totally ridiculous. I understand that bringing up past words can be a bad idea, but I’m talking about being in the moment and chatting about that which they just said.

      I hadn’t thought of it but you’re right, this is an example of cognitive dissonance on a personal level writ large standing in front of me. I know there’s nothing to be gained by pointing out how I am mirroring what they said. So being an introvert I’ll go away, realizing I won’t be missed, because who wants the truth? 🙄

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Sometimes, when people use “active listening skills” to “mirror back” what I just said (instead of adding their own 2 cents to move the conversation forward), it signals to me that they are NOT really interested in having a conversation. Which causes me to lose interest too.

    Maybe that’s what happened?

    Maybe your mirroring technique made them feel like they were engaged in a monologue, instead of a dialogue?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Nancy, interesting take on these conversations. I let other people lead the way when I’m chatting with them, then when they’re finished talking about themselves I say something personal from my life.

      Funny how you find this conversational style off-putting. I consider it to be the height of kindness, giving the gift of undivided attention. But who knows, eh? Everyone communicates differently.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True that!

        Have you ever heard about The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman? It’s about the different ways people want to give and receive love:

        Helps you discover and understand five specific languages of love, and learn how to identify your partner’s primary love language. This title reveals the profound satisfaction and joy of being able to express your love in a manner that it is interpreted in the right sense.

        Liked by 2 people

        • No, I’m not familiar with that book or its principles. Sounds like a different way to learn how to communicate with people you care about, although up until recently I’ve been doing okay. 🙄

          There are five specific love languages? I’ll look for the book. Thanks for the idea.

          Liked by 2 people

          • It’ll be right up your alley, Ally!

            The psychology behind what makes people tick (and click) is fascinating. Some people want touch. Others want poetic words and sentiments. Others want tangible gifts. Others want you to do something for them (like scrub the toilets or make dinner ~> not necessarily in that order). 😀

            I can’t recall the 5th language.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I love trying to figure out what makes someone tick. Hence this post, I suppose. We’re so different when it comes to what we consider the basis of solid relationships. If nothing else our days at home during Covid-19 have highlighted that.

              Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting, nance. I consider my mirroring conversational technique to be a kindness, an opportunity for me to pay attention to the talker so that the talker will feel understood.

      Maybe people don’t want to be understood, preferring to be distracted instead? 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is why I talk to increasing fewer people – pretty much just you. And I know I don’t hold up my end of the conversation very well. Working on it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Zen-Den, you’re a good conversationalist, fear not. It is weird to me that someone finds the gift of undivided attention and empathy to be so unsettling that he or she snaps at me. Do they feel guilty about it? Is that the problem?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t recall an instance of this, but probably because I suck at mirroring and am perhaps one of those who find it irritating when others do it to me. I know my husband has tried that technique and I get peeved, because I really do think he has misunderstood what I said. Perhaps what I actually thought I said somehow came out wrong?

    I did take part of a Master Class by Chris Voss (FBI hostage negotiator) who teaches the mirroring and other techniques to calmly steer a conversation. I tried using it in a real life discussion in a problematic HOA situation. At first, all seemed to be going well, then a third party hijacked the conversation and it ended badly. The bounds of my frustration at the end result knew no end. Frankly, I’m still peeved!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Eilene, I realize now that not everyone thinks mirroring is a good way to be a conversationalist. I consider it a kindness to pay attention to someone intently, but maybe not? No matter

      You took a class with a FBI hostage negotiator! That’s way cool and would seem as if it’d prepare you for a problematic HOA issue. Of course in my memory of HOAs, and the meetings they hold, some neighbors are intentionally disagreeable. I can imagine how peeved you are about what happened, and rightly so.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Well, the class was just an online recording, so not THAT cool.🙂

        I was just looking over an email from Jane Friedman (a guru for writers) and she was discussing conversational styles as interviewer or volunteer. She was always the first type (ask lots of questions to get the other person talking about themselves) and then she watched an Ira Glass interview and realized that a good conversationalist (as she saw it) talked about themselves (volunteering) in an engaging, storytelling manner, then paused to allow the other person to do the same. It wasn’t really about providing feedback.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I’m aware of Jane Friedman. For a while I got her newsletter. In truth, I used to be more engaging in real life conversations but over the years, being a highly sensitive introvert, I’ve become more circumspect about what I say. I’d rather keep the other person talking, asking questions, mirroring back their replies, than talk about myself. Perhaps that’s more of a reflection on the conservative close-minded people I know, than on me. 🤔

          Liked by 2 people

          • I can understand that it is more of an introvert’s way of dealing with conversation (and I am an introvert, too). Personally, I prefer more thoughtful responses than someone parroting back to me what I just said: laugh, cry, agree, disagree, relate a similar story, ask a question, etc. I can tell if someone is listening to me by the look on their face or if they keep interrupting me with non sequiters. Maybe instead of giving up on the people who get annoyed with your mirroring, give them another chance with a different tactic.

            Like

            • Oh I’m sure I’ll run into these people again. I’m a good communicator, or at least I used to be before Covid-19 lockdown and the tRump years made me more cautious. I don’t know if these people are annoyed with my mirroring conversational style as much as they are that I am truthful, which seems to bug the snot out of people. Of course Introverts converse in depth, while extroverts tend to gloss over things– and that’s another variable to consider when conversing. It’s a miracle we exchange ideas at all!

              Liked by 2 people

  7. A big off-topic, but my husband lacks self-awareness when he tells a story. He goes on, and on, and on, not aware that the details and digressions are boring people. I love him anyway.

    Yes, we can still be friends no matter what, Ally! ((( )))

    Liked by 5 people

    • Marian, it’s funny that you understand him better than he understands himself. I’ve known a few people who can dither on, meandering every which way, before getting to the point of the story. Kind of charming, kind of annoying.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. I’ve noticed this in business settings where I’ve mirrored something someone has said in an attempt I guess to verbally process it, and it’s almost like once their hear their own words, they somehow realize how ridiculous they sounded and were attempting to take their words back by accusing me of misquoting them. I think I just stopped responding to those people all together.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dorothy, yes, yes. Your experience is what happened to me, except on a personal level. I merely said what I heard, confirming in a supportive way that I was paying attention, then *bam* someone is mad at me. It’s nutty, but like you no more responses from me.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Not sure if this particular example has occurred, but had a 20 year friendship that exhausted me to no end….everything was all about her, all the time. That friendship ended a couple of years ago. Feels pretty good to no longer have to deal with that day in and day out. :-).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pam, yes, I’ve experienced that exhausting situation too. Someone goes on and on about themself [monologuing] to the point that you realize they’re never going to ask about you, their audience. And if by chance you mirror back some of what they said, well– nothing good comes from it. Smart to walk away from the burden of that unbalanced friendship, sad as it might have been to do so.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. I was thinking the same thing that Dorothy’s…Kitchen mentioned. Does hearing their own words give them a moment of reality and they just can’t deal with it? Perhaps it’s better as a listener to just nod a lot, say something noncommittal and leave everything alone… I think I’m with Zen Den on this one. Silence and avoidance of others is best.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Deb, I think Dorothy has insight into this. I agree with you that by repeating what they said the person is horrified and can’t deal with who they are. So it’s my fault, of course. I’m good at nodding my head, then moseying away from someone who has a screw or two loose. I’m not here to fix people, never have been– but I sure would like it if they fixed themselves. 😑

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Ally!!!! Did you somehow read my mind and write this post just for me? I have been stewing about this EXACT phenomenon since it happened to me at my book club meeting on Sunday. To make matters worse, the offender also talked over anyone else who wanted to make a point, no matter if their point of view agreed with hers or not. UGH!!! Thanks for giving ME the opportunity for a rant of my own. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Laurie, of course I wrote this post especially for you! 😉

      While I’m sorry this happened to you at your book club meeting, I’m not surprised either. Obviously your offender was off the mark, but I’m beginning to wonder if after all the months in Covid-19 lockdown, some people have forgotten how to communicate in person. Or how to talk without taking offense at everything. I dunno, just a theory.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I think you are right, Ally. Our social skills seem to have degraded during the months of limited face-to-face contact with other people. Now most interactions seem like a Facebook conversation, including the lack of self-awareness and empathy for others.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Yes, you said it. I also attribute the decline in pleasant personal conversation to people watching too much confrontational news. It doesn’t matter what the spin of the news is about, it’s the combativeness of it that seems to have penetrated our culture making people hyperaware of perceived slights.

          Liked by 2 people

  12. It happens to me almost every time I talk with my sister. I love her, so I continue to call and talk and be her friend and push all of my anger and frustration and sadness aside. Some people really need therapy. I often hang up after a long call and spew a string of expletives. Roger says, “You must have been talking with your sis, eh?”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Robin, I’m sorry that your sister is like this. I don’t know much about *why* someone behaves this way, but I agree with you that some people need therapy… but often don’t get it. I do like how your husband knows who you’ve been talking with, at least he is sympathetic to your plight. Still.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Seems like an example of attempted gaslighting to me. Which can be a way of lashing out at whoever happens to be in the way. (Unfortunately you…) When they ask why would you suggest otherwise, don’t answer the invalid question. Simply say, “you seem pretty angry about something else.” Sometimes it’s better to offer your observations of their behavior than to reflect their interpretation of the world back to them. If that’s the game they are playing there is no way to win so it’s best to disengage and leave the scene.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Barbara, well described. I wonder if it was a form of gaslighting and I didn’t pick up on that? I like the idea of offering my observation of their behavior, rather than the exact words. I don’t know how that’d have gone over, but will remember that conversational approach should I find myself in a similar situation. Disengage you say? Not a problem for me.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Similar, though not quite the same, I recently had two very perplexing conversations with the same person on the same topic. On Day 1, the person took Viewpoint A on the topic. Several days later, with no explanation as to the change, and acting as though they had always only felt this one way, they took (completely opposite) Viewpoint B on the same topic. Mental whiplash!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Suzanne, oh that’s weird. I wonder if that person forgot what she’d said before, or if something had happened in those intervening days to change her mind. I’d be confused by that, too. I’m all about changing your mind but for reasons, not willy-nilly. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I can’t say that this has ever happened to me in a conversation. However I do recall more than a few examples of people’s actions not matching their stated beliefs and yes, I have called them out on it occasionally as I am not a saint (although I do it gently and privately…not to humiliate). Which flummoxes most for a bit, then they rally and go on to defend themselves (either words or actions or both)…because people are nothing if not illogical. I don’t pay attention much to what people say anymore. I am more interested in what they do. Talk being cheap, and all that…

    Deb

    Liked by 2 people

    • Deb, I’m with you about actions mean more than words. Living in a conservative Christian part of the country, I know what you mean about actions not jiving with stated beliefs. The rationalizations about why can make your head swim. I rarely call out anyone on it because I figure it’s not my job to fix anyone except myself.

      If nothing else, by staying at home during the pandemic I’ve become more aware of *how* people are doing things, meaning that I feel I know who is on my side, and who isn’t. This is good, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. You know, I can’t really say that I’ve encountered this but I rarely talk to people other than my husband or kids and those are different kinds of conversations. Your scenario makes me glad I don’t talk to other people. Merry Christmas to you and ZD!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Janet, I think you’re onto something by only talking with people you really know. Different kinds of conversations indeed. Maybe ones wherein kindness and empathy are appreciated, not considered suspect. 🙄

      Liked by 2 people

  17. An enjoyable read because YES, people are nuts! However, I can’t think of a time that I’ve agreed with someone and they tried to turn it around on me. But I have a great new phrase to use in instances like that: “I’m going to disengage.” It’s short and to the point and might just take the wind out of their sails.

    I learned that nugget from watching the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City because I’m a little nutty myself.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bijoux, I very much like you new phrase. It’s perfect and practical, and from an unlikely source! As for my weird recent conversations, I have no explanation about why me being attentive and what I’d call nice got me criticized, but it did. So be it. Not worried about it, just aware. Big difference.

      Like

  18. I don’t believe I’ve had this experience, but I’m sorry you have. Since the pandemic and since leaving Facebook (best decision ever), I’ve significantly reduced friend list. As a result, it’s possible that I’m not encountering as many of these types of exchanges.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kari, I deleted Facebook years ago and I agree it was one of my best decisions ever. I’ve experienced this weird conversational dynamic recently and wonder if it has to do with people being on edge due to Omicron and news outlets that spout vitriol 24/7 and the holidays. It’s like they’re taking life way too seriously, and when they hear their words repeated back to them it makes them snarl. I’m being nice and listening, but to what end?

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Perhaps its because I am dealing with extreme grief right now, but I am completely lost. With that said, I don’t and never will have time for folks who have this “me” superiority attitude. My mil being one of those—it simply hasn’t registered in her pea brain that our one and only child passed away….its all about her. So sad…is that like your referring too?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda, my condolences on your loss. I was unaware. You are most definitely in a state of grief.

      I’m talking here about mundane conversations. Like someone telling me they eat healthy but for a holiday dinner will be making boxed mashed potatoes which they know are high in sodium which isn’t good for you.

      I say I believe you when you say that you eat healthy and that your take on the boxed mashed potatoes is accurate.

      Then this person is upset with me for saying the boxed mashed potatoes are unhealthy, something she just said. And how dare I suggest that she doesn’t eat healthy! *sigh*

      Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie, you get it. I’m merely repeating that which I heard someone else say. I’m not judging or misrepresenting, I’m being supportive YET I somehow come out as the bad guy? I need to follow your lead and do some curation. Thanks for being my friend. 😊

      Like

  20. You remind me of something I read somewhere, long ago, and later found out it was true. When your friend tells you about how awful her boyfriend or husband is and how she kicked him to the curb, never agree and say it’s about time, I always thought he was a jerk. It will come back to bite you when she gets back together with him.

    Demonstrating understanding and empathy can be dangerous. In many scenarios it will move you into the position of the bad guy. Even just saying I agree with you can move you into the attacker position, by no fault of your own. Usually, the person you’re talking to has taken the victim role. They are describing how the perpetrator/attacker has wrong them. When you agree with them, the perpetrator they were complaining about becomes the victim, you become the perpetrator and your friend now is the rescuer of the situation and in defending whoever she was complaining about, transforms into the perpetrator.

    Gives me a headache. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that,” might be a safer response. Sorry for the mini-lecture.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Zazzy, this is brilliant. Thanks for explaining this. I’d never comment on anyone’s relationship decisions instead remaining neutral. I caught onto that years ago.

      As for demonstrating understanding and empathy I thought I was on solid ground there. Obviously not. I get what you’re saying about how the victim shifts into rescuer mode leaving me, the kind person, out on a limb. I never picked up on that before.

      I like your “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that” response. It demonstrates I’m paying attention, but keeps me from getting caught in a conversational trap. There must be other effective noncommittal responses like that one. Bwha-ha-ha!

      You’re the best. I feel like I understand what happened now and am prepared to go forth… neutrally.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Did you ever get the sense that, somewhere in the middle of a conversation, the person you were talking to was replaced by a lookalike who wasn’t briefed by the original person? I have, and it was kind of like this…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lynette, I didn’t know how this post would resonate with people but most commenters have had similar experiences. I can’t decide if this is happening more now, or if I’m just aware of it now. Either way, it’s a good topic of conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. People. We really are our own worst enemies. I went bridal dress shopping with a good friend years ago. She asked me to give honest opinions on the gowns she tried. I did. Turns out she didn’t want honest opinions and I was dropped as a bridesmaid. Not quite what you were ranting about… but it’s all I’ve got.
    🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    • River, your story sounds about right, in the most wrong way ever. I agree, we are our own worst enemies. In my conversations I was demonstrating that I was interested in someone only to be perceived as the bad guy. Same situation for you. What gives?

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Yes, you can be my friend.
    (I prefer direct, mean-what-you-say-and-say-what-you-mean communication. I’m not good at small talk or superficial exchanges. It means I don’t have a large number of friends, but the ones I have are really good ones,)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rita, I’d prefer to have meaningful direct communication with friends and family, too. I can do small talk, but I don’t enjoy it. Still these conversations were weirder than most. Maybe the conversations were always weird and it took the pandemic for me to notice. 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 2 people

        • I agree. I’m the same way. I think of it as perspective gained, something I lacked in the before times because I was caught up in doing things, but now I see more clearly.

          Like

  24. I would dislike this kind of conversation (where the person disagrees with me because I’ve agreed with them and repeated their story) intensely. I can’t say that I’ve endured this kind of conversation. But I kind of know the type of people who would do this, and I stay away from this type of person! I’m not rude, but I walk the other way when I see them coming.

    I AM your friend and I count you as a friend too. Hope that’s okay! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jan, oh that is twisted. Is that what is going on with these recent conversations? I agreed, which meant in the speaker’s mind that I thought the speaker was wrong. How insecure would you be to think like that?

      Liked by 1 person

  25. And this is why I’m not all that fond of people. The good ones are hard to sort out and the not so logical ones abound. Sometimes I don’t respond but my eyes are rolling so hard that I fear I’ll have to pick them up off of the floor!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kate, yes, yes. What you said! I’m not big on people either. The ones that makes sense are fewer and far between– and that’s before we even get to politics or climate change or vaccinations. I roll my eyes more and more.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Yikes, I don’t think I have ever experienced that but I’m not surprised. Sometimes hearing our words come out of another’s mouth is uncomfortable… and no one these days wants to feel uncomfortable about something we said or did. Sometimes it is best to say “have a nice day” and walk away.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Janis, you’re right. And I think that’s where the problem is. I say what someone said and they don’t like hearing what they said so they take it out on me. It makes sense the more I think about it. I agree with you about “have a nice day” and then walk away.

      Like

  27. Yes, it has happened because apparently I didn’t understand the nuances of what they clearly said/meant. I am finding myself constantly irritated by too many people these days! Argghh.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. OH. WOW.
    I don’t know that I’ve experienced something exactly like this, but I do know there are a lot of people who are in denial of reality.
    You did right by just walking away and keeping away.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Suz, well said. You’re right that a lot of people live in a constant state of denial. Repeating what they just said forces them to face the denial, I suppose. Lucky me for getting to talk with them. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  29. That is annoying, Ally. I haven’t been in this specific situation. I have been snipped at for asking a genuine question, not even meant to be controversial. I’m working on letting that stuff (and those kind of people) go. I like Janis’s thought on the subject. Perhaps that person didn’t realize how what they said sounded until they heard it from someone else’s mouth. Hmm…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Christie, like you I’ve been sniped at for asking a sincere question. I figure that in those cases the person might think I’m mocking them– which of course I wasn’t. Just curious.

      Janis is right in her assessment. The conversational difficulties start when you hold the mirror up to some people and they don’t like what they see/hear. Naturally it’s my fault for being the messenger.

      Like

    • Donna, I agree it’s sad. Like you I shrugged and moved on, but I still don’t know how me agreeing with them made them confrontational turning me into the bad guy. People be weird, phone numbers can be deleted, life goes on. 😉

      Like

  30. That sounds really annoying. I don’t think it’s happened to me, at least not that I can remember. And yes, we can be friends.

    I suppose a person like that only wants you to nod your head, look sympathetic, and keep your mouth shut. Maybe she should just talk to herself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nicki, thanks for your friendship. I like your summation & sense you’re right. Silly me, I was paying attention, interactive, when I was supposed to be the audience, passively in awe of her. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

    • Crystal, same thing here. I have to be careful about negative energy and people, which is why this was super odd. I thought these people were positive and sincere, but instead they each were kind of wackos. Who I shall avoid henceforth.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. I am sure this has happened to me, but I can’t think of a time recently. It might be that I spend most of my time with toddlers and infants. They have their negative points, but mostly – they’re cute and funny. Their conversational style includes lots of interrupting.

    I do agree with River Girl, we are our own worst enemies. I have some real nut jobs that I must post about. Soon. Well, at some point maybe. I have a growing list of things I want to share and not enough time to write about it. I do enjoy reading what my blog friends would say or do about some of these bad mannered people.

    I’m sorry people have been changing their own opinion midstream while you are only reiterating it. Weirdness. It never ends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Ernie, I love your explanation of toddler communication style. Interrupt they do, without any awareness that it might be rude. At least they’re straightforward.

      River is right about people being their own worst enemies and maybe that’s what happened to me. I was attentive, seeking to understand, and what did I get for my sincerity? Snarls, baby. And mean looks. Bad manners if you ask me.

      I cannot change people, nor do I want to. I can however change how I engage with people and that’s going to happen. There’ve been lots of good ideas and insights in these comments. I look forward to when/if you write about your weird people experiences. If nothing else, blogging has helped me learn what makes other people tick. And that’s cool beans.

      Like

    • Thank you, Shelley. Love your mirror t-shirt idea. Obviously seeing who you are in a mirror makes some people snarl at she who holds the mirror. Also with you about a shrug and a smile, which will be my approach in the future with these people.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re welcome. I see your point about the person holding the mirror. I tend to think that the past two years have made people more susceptible to the snarl factor. 🤔😳
        I had a recent encounter with such a situation and I chose to pretend I didn’t hear them as I smiled at the plant on the shelf near me and then I took a long sip of water and washed the conversation down with it. There’s no perfect solution, just a chance to be creative each time. 🤷🏻‍♀️😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, people snarl and mock and openly hate more now. I saw it starting when tRump with his word salad gibberish and childish tirades came onto the scene. He brings out the worst in people.

          While my intention is to be a good friend, I am rethinking that. I suspect my friendship makes little difference to someone who wants to be combative. I agree with you that polite conversational indifference takes some creativity. Fortunately we both are good at that! 😉

          Like

          • I’m sure you can find people who believe 99% against that thinking about Mr. T. I’ve found those conversations to be quite lively. I think that there tends to be an unhealthy reliance on the word of mouth spread by mainstream media (all of them). Their messages are carefully and deliberately curated for a specific outcome. They are the crux of the mess we’re in and contribute too much to the forming of the perceptions fought for, or against. Once we all find a way to say, “Hmm…show me the proof of that, without MSM paid for bias, then I’ll believe you.” IMHO. When I took an interest in seeing both sides equally, and to test if that belief about MSM is true or not, it was quite enlightening to say the least.
            I like that term polite conversational indifference, nicely stated. It is a skill set to put to good use these days. (And hard to display when we’re passionate about our beliefs). Noticing opposing passions without getting upset with the other party is a challenge. I do believe we can all politely co-exist. I do tend to be a dreamer…🤔😉🤷🏻‍♀️😁

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yep, the mass media sets the agenda, then goads people into talking about it. It’s mostly opinion, on both sides, and not concrete facts. You have to look for the primary source of all that is said, then apply critical thinking to it. My college degrees are from liberal arts universities, which some people poo-poo, but they prepared me for learning how to discern what makes sense and what is utter BS.

              As for talking with people I like your dream. I wish no one harm, but don’t always think the feeling is mutual. Still, polite co-existence is the goal.

              Liked by 1 person

              • And until we humans collectively say poo-poo to the lack of solid news reporting our world will keep spinning on quick to judge and quick to get clicks info in Twitter-sized news bits. The narrative changes so rapidly, true discernment and fact-finding has become hard to do. Especially if you only research on platforms that are funded by the same sources putting out the BS/truth. I never knew of DuckDuckGo until I let myself go there to find research that had been hidden or taken down from the big G platform. Even trusted sources can be full of BS. Where does one stop the questioning? When it hits their belief system? But what if that was formed under lies we’ve been taught/told to believe?
                Yes, I agree – polite co-existence is a grand goal. I’ve adopted a new outlook during the past two years by taking the approach of, “What if what I currently believe is truly a lie that I’ve been taught I should believe, what would I do with that information?” It’s been entertaining to question my own beliefs that’s for sure.
                Sorry to have rambled on, I enjoy hearing your thoughts. 🤷🏻‍♀️🤔😉

                Liked by 1 person

                • You can drive yourself bonkers if you overthink the news, sources of said, and implications of believing the wrong people! DuckDuckGo is fascinating. I like to use it to compare the results with Google. I also use Microsoft Bing.

                  I figure I do my best to stay as informed as I need to be, but refuse to go down any rabbit hole of despair. Life is too short for that!

                  Liked by 1 person

    • Robin, to me, an introvert, it’s odd to be so lacking in self-awareness that you don’t realize what you just said. But what do I know? Enough to realize that I won’t be engaging with these sorts of [confused? shallow?] people if I can avoid it.

      Liked by 2 people

  32. I’ve not had that exactly happen to me, but I was reminded yesterday of a broken friendship because of her willingness to try and start a politically-based argument on Facebook in 2020 – always when I was trying to be respectful and carefully manage my words. So, I finally unfriended her. She messaged me yesterday about a memory that popped up from a Christmas a few years ago and I wonder if she is now regretting her words or missing the fight. I refuse to commiserate with angry people. It’s too damn tiring and frustrating and I don’t need that in my life. I’d be willing to hang with you, Ally, over adult refreshment, laughs and honest, non-confrontational conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mary, I’d wonder too about this former friend wanting to engage again. It’s impossible to know if she’s sincere & regretful– or up for more arguments. Some people like to argue which seems inane to me. Reasoned discussion I’m all about, but not making trouble/being difficult to get attention. I adore your line: “I refuse to commiserate with angry people.” Amen, sister. Drinks and laughs sound perfect to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  33. I think part of being a good friend, is being able to to have honest & respectful conversations that may include things we may not necessarily want to hear. I been asked on more than one occasion what my interpretation is of a situation. I always try to be respectful but I also try to be truthful. If you don’t want an honest answer, don’t ask!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lynn, EXACTLY! I feel the same way. I don’t intend to make life difficult for anyone but if we’re in a conversation and you say one thing, I’m going to believe you + expect you to continue this conversation based on what you just said. Feel free to change your mind later when new information appears, but in the moment stick with your story. If you don’t do that there’s no honest and respectful communication… so what’s the point? 🤨

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Egad, that has happened to me. So I stopped being a mirror, at least, if it’s a friend I want to keep. I wind up just listening, trying to express sympathy without saying too much. I have so few friends now (lol) that it’s a problem I haven’t experienced in a long time. I have one friend (still) who would turn the mirror I held up to get the angle she liked. I would leave our conversations exhausted and frustrated, while she went on her merry way. That’s just who she is. We have enough of a friendship that I want to keep, but not the closeness we used to have. Now, if she had glared at me and argued, well, the friendship would not have continued.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marie, it’s the weirdest feeling when it happens, isn’t it? You know the person just said what she did, and that you’re being kind by paying attention, then *bam* you’re accused of being a meanie. How/why does that kind of twisted thinking happen?

      I get what you’re saying about your one sort of friend. I used to talk with a woman who left me exhausted, frustrated, and confused but I don’t talk with her anymore, so this was the first time in years that I found myself [again] in a situation where I was demonstrating empathy only to be sniped at. Don’t like it at all.

      Like

  35. I agree with you Ally and I’ve had people with their combative attitude way too many times lately. I hate when people want to make a point and preface it by saying “look” … the word “look” is overused these days and every time I hear it, that’s because someone is ready to launch into a tirade. I want to say “did I challenge you so that you take that tone with me like I am a child?” Next time I will say “cease and desist” and simply walk away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda, you’re right about when someone says “look” and you know a monologue is about to happen. I’ve come to think that the often hysterical &/or combative tone of news outlets, both sides, has become the norm so people feel entitled &/or comfortable being disagreeable… even with those who agree with them. I don’t like this way of communicating and plan to walk away should this happen again. No more empathetic friend, more of an indifferent acquaintance, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. I used to wonder why the great Carl Rogers used mirroring so much in his counselling as I’d not experienced any insights when using it myself professionally. I have experienced it occasionally personally – but only with those in the wider social circle rather than friends. What I take from that is those who sought therapy had self-awareness, while the others very much did not. Your observation on the belief system of most where you live sounds absolutely on the button.

    As you say, that strength of reaction is being modelled all around us. I carefully curate what I read and watch, but I can’t avoid it entirely – and I’m trying to. If unaware and making no attempt to avoid it, it’ll seep in through the pores every single day. I’m a natural extrovert, but am becoming more and more introverted as each day passes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deb, I only use mirroring as a way of allowing other people to talk about themselves, which is usually something they want to do. I got it from Covey’s “seek first to understand then be understood” habit. His book was a big deal when I began working after college. Z-D and I both worked in places where we were expected to follow its principles– and still spout them off to each other once in a while.

      I watch no news choosing to read some of it instead. Much less emotion on the page than on the screen. I’m sure you’re right that the vitriol and combativeness contained within almost any news story + the 24/7ness of it has changed the way many [most?] people communicate now. I don’t like this, but I understand what’s going on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What I’m find especially frustrating when I do watch anything political (and means I have to control my anger) is those “journalists” who ask questions with the sole intention of obtaining a headline – preferably one with a high click rate potential – rather than to obtain any useful or relevant information or response. I use quotes around the word as I don’t believe that those who behave in this way are worthy of the title. Sadly, few these days are.

        I really must get around to reading Stephen Covey’s book soon. Fiction keeps tempting me away….

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, journalists are few any more. The talking heads who conduct interviews on TV news are indeed looking for sensational headlines and ask leading questions that infuriate me as well. It’s all about setting the agenda and establishing their talking points. Facts? What are those?

          Covey’s habits as outlined in his book are useful, and doable, but maybe a little dated in comparison to today’s self-improvement how-to books. Quaint, even. If you ever read the book I’ll enjoy your review.

          Liked by 1 person

  37. I tend to call ppl out on what they say bc I don’t always trust that they mean what they say… Like ugh I hate my job I want to quit, or she’s so rude she’s the worst friend ever… Of course I do what you do too.. I listen and repeat to make sure I’m understanding but I also try to help them unpack their feelings… Do you really hate your job, what about it do you hate or do you just hate that particular day… Obviously there’s nuance to everything but at all times I do try to be sensitive to the person’s feelings but also I consider if this type of baseless complaining happens every Tuesday lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • bosssybabe, you are so right people often don’t literally mean what they say. They’re just venting and all you need to do is listen + nod your head in an understanding way. I am very good at that! But if someone says one thing then immediately says they didn’t say that, when they just did, I’m on alert that I might be dealing with someone who lacks self-awareness. It’s like I’m being gaslighted for being attentive. I don’t want to change anyone, but I also don’t want keep talking with this person who seems to be in denial. So I’ll just mosey away, ‘ya know?

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Reflecting back what people say to you is absolutely like showing them a mirror, and demonstrating you’re trying check you’ve understood them, it’s a basic counselling skill too, and usually leads to the person thinking/weighing up their point or feeling and opening up the conversation further in a positive way….unless of course they clam up and hate the echo of their own words, which may be what happened with this person you were talking to….. maybe they didn’t like what they heard, they heard themselves!!! It’s not you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cherryl, you’ve explained what happened perfectly. In my experience letting someone know you’re listening to them by repeating what they said, not verbatim but in essence, encourages people to keep talking. Kind of a Frasier Crane “I’m listening” approach to communication. But lately this approach has backfired and left me pondering whether I want to talk with a few people ever again. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  39. I’ve had conversations like that, too, and afterwards I know better than to talk to those people. Because the truth is, nothing you can say is going to be right, and they’ll be sure to let you know it. The one exception is my grandson, because he’s three and isn’t trying to be a jerk when he tells me I’m wrong after I’ve repeated back to him, word for word, what he just said to me. He’s just learning to converse, and I’m one of the people he practices on! But those those above the age of say, five, I have no patience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ann, you said it: “nothing you can say is going to be right, and they’ll be sure to let you know it.” I understand hearing someone else say what you just said and you realize you want to revise your comment, but to deny what you said moments before is wack-o. Unless you’re three years old, of course. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Life is too short to talk to those people. Maybe some day they’ll look back on their conversation with you and think, “Shoot. I think AB had a point. Dang it. I might just be a dung beetle.”
    Word for word–it could happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. These days, I believe people merely want to be quarrelsome. Especially with healthy discourse. There was a time when one could enjoy a hearty debate with another and no harm done. We part company either happily agreeing to disagree or one swayed to the others’ view. Today, unfortunately, the conversation may cause someone’s feelings to be hurt. I never imagined a society where feelings could be hurt for a differing opinion, leastways the offended resorting to name calling!

    Like

    • Qballrail, good point. Debates used to be rational not emotional. People anticipated and accepted that someone might not agree with them and it was no big deal. Somehow now everyone seems combative, primed to disagree and be upset in the process. Blame it on the 24/7 news cycle, blame it on Facebook, blame it on whatever, but I see it happening and I don’t like it.

      Like

  42. That seems ridiculous to me. If that is a friend of yours, perhaps you need better friends. Or perhaps this person is going through a very difficult time right now and just needs to lash out a bit? Either way, not cool. Come on by and hang out with my friends. They are keepers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J, I found the conversation ridiculous, but I also know that it’s not my job to change people so I’ll just keep my distance, and my mirror, away from such people. Who knew being attentive and empathetic was an invitation to be sniped at?

      Like

  43. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe this happened to you when you were being so empathetic and just agreeing with this person. I would have been shocked too. Trying to think of an example where this has happened, but none is coming up. Will keep my eyes open! (and hugs, Ally Bean…)

    Liked by 1 person

  44. I haven’t had any conversations like that Ally, although I agree there are plenty of disagreeable people out there who try and force their opinions on people. I guess there are advantages to living like a hermit the past two years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni, I try to live like a hermit, but occasionally I come out into the light of day and talk with a real person. Most are lovely people but this bit about saying something then immediately denying you just said it… doesn’t fly with me. I pay attention, you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  45. Nope, not been there. I’m snarky, sarcastic, and for sure have sniped and been sniped at, but haven’t had that particular conversation. I could get snarky with WordPress because I’m still not getting your posts. I thought maybe you took a holiday break but decided to come check, and here you are. Off to check my settings again!

    Liked by 1 person

  46. I have not had that happen to me. Yes, you can be friends with my friends. From the look of your comments sections, you already are. Swinged Cat and I are blog buddies. We can share him. He doesn’t talk like that. Good luck avoiding that strange person. Hopefully you are not related to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Travel Architect, I like the idea that we share Swinged Cat! He’s a good blog buddy. This weird conversation was with a casual acquaintance and has happened twice. My relatives may be odd, but never wigged out quite like this. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.