Teresa and I place a high value on our marriage and making sure to not only date each other, but to take annual honeymoons to connect. We have 5 kids and it's very difficult to get the 1-to-1 time we need as a couple. We have been doing these Annual Honeymoon Retreats for a decade. Each one is different and we've gone to different locations. This year we went to the Glasbern Inn in Fogelsville, PA. In fact, we love this place so much that we've made this our 3rd visit. They have a fancy restaurant on site that is included in the package we buy
We were enjoying our second dinner where Teresa ordered the chicken and I ordered the duck, when we were distracted by the table next to us. There were two couples in their mid to late 60's dining together. One lady of the four was talking quite a bit. In fact, she rambled on and on to the point that Teresa and I considered switching tables. We couldn't believe that this woman didn't see what we saw. She wasn't "Reading the Room" as Vincent Pugliese shared in his recent interview with the Smart Cleaning School. This woman was highly educated and had articulate opinions on so many ranging topics in education, politics, and cooking. She held the other 3 guests at her table spellbound with her intelligence. Or did she? Teresa and I were observing this play out. We decided it was more fun to observe this foursome interact together, especially since Teresa and I were reading Vincent's book, "The Wealth of Connection".
The other 3 at the table just listened, nodded along, smiled, and mostly stared at her. There wasn't any opportunity for any of the others to talk. It was like she felt it was her job to entertain the dinner table. In that self-absorbed goal she was absolutely successful. Teresa's back was toward them and couldn't turn around. She asked me. "Are the others interested in what she was saying?" I couldn't tell as the other three were very quiet. They weren't fiddling around or doing other things. They were at the surface engaged in her conversation. But then she left to go to the bathroom and something amazing happened. While she was gone the other three all talked and shared the conversation evenly between them. Their body language came alive. Their level of engagement tripled. It was a real conversation with each of the three having input and giving reactions. It was a very balanced conversation. And then I told Teresa this. "Let's see how long it takes for that lady to come back and dominate again."
As she sat down, she took stock of the conversation at hand. I could tell that she was postulating her next doctoral dissertation. The other 3 were will still quite candid for 3 minutes. I timed it. Then she opened her mouth and the other 3 stopped. Their body language shrunk as they returned to listening or lecturer mode. It was very sad. This woman was elated to return to a lively table and then swiftly stole the energy to do what Lauryn Hill describes as "Killing Me Softly". The conversation had returned to the default position with total domination by one lady. Five years ago, I would have never noticed this. I'm thankful that I can now read the room. This was a fascinating study in sociology and human behaviour.
Does this story bother you? Does it get under your skin? Have you been trapped in 1-way conversations like this? Or, is it you? Are you talking too much?! If she were able to see the table from the perspective that I saw it, would it affect her or cause her to change? We all have an effect on others. Are we allowing others to have an effect on us? What about the three that didn't talk or say anything? They weren't doing her any favors by letting her talk. Any one of them could have started speaking. They could have made a comment directed at one of the other three just like they did when she was gone. It's just as much their fault. They allowed themselves to become 3 students in a professor's classroom versus four people out to dinner. The one that was talking had no curiosity about any of the others. She had lots of opinions on lots of things and she was not afraid to share them. I have no interest in being around people like that. What about you? So I ask you again. Are you one of those people? If so, it's time to look in the mirror and make the change like Michael Jackson tells us.
Check out my interview with the T-Bag Company Founder, entitled "Respectful, Reliable, Responsible with Damon Washington". You can purchase any of the T-Bag products at a 10% discount through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page.
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