I’ve been told I have a special gift. Something that could lead to an alternative career. The clue is Bond and Bourne :p .. Anyway, I can engage in deep conversation with a friend while tuning in to unsolicited, meandering conversation from the next table.
Most times, the conversations are riveting. Er… both.. mine and the conversation at the next table. 😀
Today, it happened again. But with a difference.
As usual, a friend and I were enjoying our conversation, flitting from topic to topic like honey bees to flowers. We covered topics that were philosophical (I wonder if horses prefer carrying burdens on their backs or pulling a burden hitched to a cart 😀 .. probably neither); political (better way of managing the jobs credit scheme) and plebian, which won hands down; ranging from food, film, common friends (read gossip :)), birthdays, scents etc…
Then I found snippets of conversation from the next table wafting across to me, unsolicited. I can but won’t repeat the conversation. Primarily because it would be rude. Secondarily, it was Blah! Bland. Boring.
Is there such a thing as a boring conversationalist? His companion appeared riveted. Her non-verbal cues certainly showed she was “leaning in” on his droning pinkerton monologue. Her intent clear.
My friend thinks that like-minded people naturally draw each other out. Understand verbal and non-verbal cues, speak on the same wavelength and laugh at similar things. So anyone with a different worldview and mindset could find another person’s brilliant conversationalist, boring.
Hmmm… he has a point? But I wonder if ever found in conversation with the likes of Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, anyone would ever say they were boring conversationalists. And on the homefront of ordinary people, my aunt and sister are interesting conversationalists. They can hold court and entertain with their anecdotes for hours. My late grandparents too.
So are there boring conversationalists?
This brings me back to my undergrad days when a well-intentioned friend set me up on a blind date.
I went against my better judgement! Making another terrible mistake of agreeing to dinner instead of suggesting coffee! And exacerbated it with no plan B! ie: A planned meeting with a friend within 30minutes of the date, should it turn out boring or a psychotic episode. Or a long-suffering friend going home if I were a no show.
So without plan anything, I was stuck! It was excruciating. Maybe I was too much of a SYT then (ok, ok, take away the “S”) polite and thornless and therefore could not extricate myself regardless of the intense pain from boredom. Peeling onions would have been less painful!
The poor sod, with the intention of impressing me, had found out from my friend what courses I was studying and appeared to have homed in on Sociology. He then did what every Singaporean student is good at. Regurgitate everything he had read. Concept after theory!!! Some I hadn’t even heard of! Worse of, when I try to take up the conversation thread that he started, it died of natural causes! 😀 No return service. 🙂 He couldn’t respond and just went to the next topic. Who wants to speak about Marxism on a date, anyway…
I was waning by the third theory, picturing in my mind lopping this cro magnon with the extraordinarily hard rump of steak hoping to crack his cranium to stop the theorising!
I was desperate to finish the meal. Chew and swallow (those who know me know that 32 chews for every mouthful is not a theory but practise) desperately became swallow! Swallow!! I had acute indigestion from python-like eating habits and bad conversation 😮
If he had picked up on my non-verbal cues, I didn’t know but he appeared to change track. He threw out (I could have thrown up!) “read” jokes! “Have you heard this one?” became the irritating refrain for the next few minutes. Seemed like hours! Nothing was spontaneous with this chap. He reads and spews! Not the knight and dragon variety, alas….
Suffice it to say, I gobbled the main meal (no coffee or dessert thank you), preferring instead to desert him with “my parents don’t allow me to give out my phone number” as we parted. I felt awful but what are parents for, right? :p … ok, ok, I did feel bad about desertion but I was sure he would find someone who loves being spewed at, unknight-like.
Are there boring conversationalists? I’m afraid I have to say I think so. And I don’t think it’s just the function of different mindsets and wavelengths. :p Fess up! I’m sure you had your share of triple B too. 🙂