Thursday, January 22, 2009

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

You know the scene. You're talking to a friend, and you say, "When I was a kid, I had the hardest time learning to tie my shoes. It took me like 2 months" and your friend responds, "Yeah I know, it took me 5 months to learn to tie my shoes. And even after that, I had to have my mom help me sometimes." And all of a sudden, you realize that Tracy Bonham knew what she was saying when she said:

For everyone, there's another one that's stronger
So out you go, like the trash that you drug in

I have always wondered why it seemed so necessary for others to always "one up" a person. It's almost as if you're saying to that person, "That's nice. But I'm so much better, so much more desperate, so much more ___________ than you are. Isn't that awesome??" And let me just tell you, no. It's not awesome. There are so many people who just want to be heard and noticed. And if you continue to "one up" them, I'm not so sure I'd blame them for lying to dominate the conversation. I feel like those who choose to dominate the conversation are more concerned with dominating the people than they are the actual topic of discussion. And how wrong is that?!?

We find it so easy to go through life playing this comparison game and it's just so desperate and sad. Because I've seen that look so many times. When someone is telling a story and that one person is thinking, and the wheels are turning, and they are waiting to jump on the last word to explain how their experience is better/worse/more important, and it causes the person originally speaking to feel like a peon who doesn't matter, and is unimportant. All value that could have been added by simply responding with a :

- That's so cool
- That's amazing
- Wow. I never knew that about you.
- I am so sorry you had to go through that
- That must be tough

is now tossed out the window...along with that person's desire to share anything with anyone ever again.

But when we can learn to respond to people's life experience stories by (what I like to call) "letting them win," everyone wins.  I love when I'm in a conversation, and i don't "win" or dominate the conversation, but I get to learn more about a person, and that person gets to feel like they matter.  And that a winning feeling.  :D

1 comment:

Diana said...

wow, I never new that about you.

Aunt Diana