An Expression of Frustration and a Petition for Practical Help

I never write in my journal, almost. But I did today. This must have something to do with the fact that Hannah mentioned her journal the other day. I guess it inspired me.

My journal has not been something I would ever worry about keeping under lock and key; I’ve haven’t been much of an every-detail-of-my-life-and-thoughts type when it comes to writing in it. However, today I decided to try being completely candid and detailed. I don’t know if this will cause me to cherish my journal more, or make me desire its destruction next time I read it—but it’s done now (six whole pages of detail) and I’m glad I did it.  

One of the topics of my journal entry was “conversation.” My frequent inability to carrying on decent conversation has been a frustration for me for some time. I love to talk to people when it works—But, unless I’m talking to someone who has a lot to say without being asked, talking with people is just not easy for me at all. This fact has been well punctuated by the many awkward conversations that I’ve had (or attempted to have) within the last few weeks. Here’s a typical scenerio: Someone asks me a question, I give a short answer, and then he/she is just left hanging. I don’t like to make people grope for something else to say, but I can’t help it because I’m busy groping myself. They had hoped that their question would get a more lengthy response, or would lead me to ask them a question. But I just don’t seem to be able to produce anything lengthy or think of a follow-up question on the spot. As a result, the conversation is awkward from the very beginning. I do often think of things I could have said, after it’s too late, but it’s rare for me to think of anything at the crucial time.

Perhaps one of the reasons for my struggle is that I don’t practice much at home. I’ve only recently realized that I spend a lot more time just listening to my family talk, then I do talking. I don’t mind this at all. I rather like it. But it’s difficult, when I’ve been mostly listening all week, to suddenly be immersed into a situation where I ought to be talking. 

Surely by now I must be considered by some people as “the hard one to talk to.” And that’s certainly not nice for me or the ones who try to talk to me. So, . . . moving on to the petition for practical help: I’m ready to “take steps” to conquer this, and I need your ideas of some “steps” to “take.”

Or, if you have the same problem I do, I’d like to know that I’m not alone.:)

(And yes, I did just use a smiley face. I thought it needed it. Take this as proof that I’m not all “baa humbug” about them.) 

By the way, I may have painted my situation a little bit over-dramatically.



13 thoughts on “An Expression of Frustration and a Petition for Practical Help

  1. I was actually going to do a blog post about the same topic! As you know, I have the same problem, which is why I’m not going to give you any help, unfortunately (because I don’t have any to give). I, too, just listen to my family a lot. Hey, you learn a lot from listening. I like it that way, for the most part, but at the same time, with my family is the easiest place to practice good conversational skills.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m going to be able to come tomorrow night, Lord willing. And I’m feeling sort of “comment-y” today, if you haven’t noticed.

  2. Well I’m just feeling all around “write-y” today, so I’ll reply to your comment.

    Go ahead and post your post as well, if you’ve already written it. We’ll just stick with “Great minds think alike,” instead of “Fools never differ.”

    Glad you’ll be able to come to elders’ meeting tomorrow. I’m excited to see you!

    And you’ll be bringing Bethany, of course. For the Bible study. That will be fun.

    See ya’

  3. Well thanks! I like it when people reply to my comments. 🙂

    Yep, Bethany will be coming tomorrow night, as well. Of course, I’m not technically “bringing her” or attending the elders’ meeting. And I can’t wait to see you either. Sorry I haven’t replied to your e-mails yet. I’ve been reading in my spare time…almost done with your books. It’s amazing!! It’s been encouraging, edifying, and really convicting. I’m probably going to blog about it here in the near future. And no, I haven’t written my post about this topic yet, but I still plan too.

    Um yes, let’s just go with “great minds think alike”. Personally, I’m a little fonder of that than “fools never differ.”

    Okay, see ya!

    • Good point(s) about not bringing Bethany, and not attending the elders’ meeting.

      See you and Bethany tomorrow!

  4. Haha. I had fun reading your guys’ comments. 🙂 Yes, “Great minds think alike” definitely sounds better than “Fools never different”.

    As for your post Laura, I’m glad you got to write in your journal 🙂 Isn’t it great? And about talking with people… ah! I do the same thing. I feel like I do that a lot – start talking with people, get asked a question, answer in a one worded answer and then the conversation just simply hangs there with nobody saying anything. It’s awkward and not too fun. I too like talking with people who talk a lot cause then I feel like I do more listening than talking 🙂 … Maybe we should all work on this together… keeping up a conversation with maybe just asking random questions or even questions that require a bit more depth than short answers 🙂 I don’t know….

    Whew… I wrote more than I meant to. Sorry Laura. 😛 Can’t wait for tomorrow.

    Ps- Loved the one smiley face. As you can probably tell… I use them a lot. 😉

    • Glad you enjoyed our comments. As for your comment, I don’t mind long ones! No apology necessary there.

      Good idea about working on conversation skills together! That could be good. Maybe we should quit fearing randomness so much. What wrong with saying something random anyway?


  5. Well, it seems as though the people who have the hardest time keeping a conversation going are the only ones commenting. Maybe it’s because we’re a lot better at having a conversation via comment. So yes, I too have a horrible time trying to keep a conversation going. But I don’t think it is because I havn’t had practice. Usually when our family is in discussion time I tend to say a little too much. I think I have a bigger issue when talking with people I don’t know and when in an inviornment seperate from home. I can be very nervous and distracted when out of my comfort zone. But I do have a possible solution for you that I know has helped me. First, prepare material before hand. If you know your going to be around people who will try to have a conversation with you be prepared to have something to say. Second, imagine the inviornment you’re going to be in and practice having conversation with an invisible person in that inviornment. Imagine different responses and scenerios that could occure and prepare yourself accordingly. (when practicing the conversation, imagine the person you know will probably try to talk to you). Lastly, be agressive. Don’t let the person come to you. Go to them. she (or he) will really appreciate your initiative, and things won’t be nearly as ackwardness, expecially if she (or he) isn’t an ackward kind of person. Sorry that my comment was long-worded 🙂

    • Thanks Jacob! Finally someone with some advice!

      I do have imaginary conversations with people often when I’m alone. Those conversations always magically go really well. I think, though, when I talk to “Invisi-Jo(e),” I always start mid-conversation. So I never practice getting into a conversation. I think your idea about imagining exactly how the real situation might be will be helpful. If I actually try starting a few conversations with invisi-Jo(e), or practice answering questions that invisi-Jo might ask in order to start a conversation, that will probably help a lot.


  6. Aww, Laura…I have never ever thought of you as someone hard to talk to! But since you’re looking for advice, and since I have been known as the “queen of talking,” Let me tell you a few things that have made it easier for me (though by now you may have already conquered this.)

    #1 Talking is hard for everyone, no matter how natural they look. Often, when I am talking, my heart is pounding like an loud drum. So, don’t worry about every little detail about what you say or how you say it, chances are, whoever you’re talking to is thinking about themselves too, sad, but true 🙂

    #2 Take a chance and laugh if you fall 🙂 Think of it as an adventure and walk right up to someone you don’t know. Be sure you ask the first question. If the is person is awkward then you can help them out. If you’re awkward you can laugh about it later 😉 Plus, people have much more fun with a person who can make a mess of the conversation and still talk to them normally (I’ve done it both way, I assure you.)

    3# Don’t think so hard!!! Practicing is great (I do it all the time) but sometimes what you’ve imagined or practiced just won’t work in the situation that you find yourself, so you have to improv and you’re freaking out. Just breathe and try not to look like you’re pondering all of this and walk right up to someone and talk to them. If you flop, then try again the next time. If you find yourself caught in an awkward silence or you feel like you said something awkward, just say the first thing that comes into your head. Okay, let me rephrase that. Say the first interesting and semi reliant thing that comes to your head. It really stinks to be tied to one topic for an entire conversation, so don’t fee like you have to only talk about that one thing (unless changing the subject would be rude.) Besides, sometime, if you have everything you want to say all diagrammed out (not that that it is bad) it can actually make things harder and more awkward. Improv is good practice and can actually be a ton of fun 🙂

    Okay, I’m sorry I was so long winded and you probably have this all figured out by now. Hope some of it helps 🙂
    Sarah 🙂

  7. Thanks “SaraH” for the encouraging comment. Like I said, conversation has been easier ever since I wrote this post. But, I really like your advice. You’re basically telling me that the key is to just go “gung-ho” into a conversation, and don’t worry about what dumb things I might say. That’s a good way to think about it.


  8. Great! I’m glad it’s been easier. By the way, I’m sooooo sorry if I disagreed with any of the advice previously given. I think everybody’s advice was phenomenal!! I’m am by no means the queen of talking in the sense that I know how to do it best…I only meant that poeple tell me I talk a lot 🙂


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