Can we talk?

How do you get to know someone new? Carry on a conversation? Share information? We have to talk to each other. Communication is one of the most important tools we have available to us. Some of us are more adept at using that tool than others. There are people who can’t shut up. They simply have to fill the void of silence with a voice, a noise, anything so they don’t have to listen to their own breathing. Then there are people who can go for weeks and not speak more than a dozen words.

A good friend of mine swears that men only have about 15,000 words to use on any given day, and women have 30,000 words for a day. Once he uses up his words he stops talking. But trust me, when he’s in the mood to have a conversation, he talks more than any woman I’ve ever met. However, he knows how to communicate. It’s almost impossible to win an argument with him. You better have all your facts straight before the topic is broached or he will win every time.

I also have a friend who can’t shut up. I’ve known him over 20 years and love him like a brother, but he simply cannot deal with silence. He also knows his facts and can remember numbers, scores, stats and odd trivia to the point of being annoying as hell. That’s why we can go up to a year between conversations and pick up right where we left off the next time we talk.

Both of these guys are great, but very tiring. They don’t exhaust me nearly as much as the few friends I have who don’t talk much. It’s hard to carry on a conversation when only one person is talking. If I’m going to talk to myself I’d just as soon do that to begin with. How are we supposed to get to know each other if we don’t talk, ask and answer questions, trade stories about family and friends and our histories?

It is difficult at best to communicate with people who don’t talk much. Are they shy? Do they get nervous talking about themselves? Are they hiding something? Are they afraid of getting close to someone? I have learned that I am not nearly as shy and introverted as I thought I was. I’m finally coming out of my shell and discovering that I like talking to people and making new friends. I can be happy with a comfortable silence. I don’t have to fill the silence with my own voice just to know I’m not alone. But when I find someone I want to get to know, I’m going to talk. I’m going to ask questions because I want to know the answers. How else do I know if we have something in common to discuss?

I am a writer. I want to know things so I can write about them. Not necessarily as fact, but as an idea to use. Sometimes I go out and just listen to people talk. It’s interesting to see how other people relate to one another. Nonverbal communication is interesting, too, but that would take a whole other blog to discuss. For now, let’s stick with voice. The sound of an interesting voice can make or break a conversation. An accent can also influence conversation. If it’s too strong, people won’t want to talk to you. On the other hand, some people love accents and will go out of their way to talk to you. The accent will make people want to listen to you speak. The pitch of the voice can also change the effect of a conversation. My dad had a disc jockey voice. I’ve found a few people with that pitch. Sometimes we don’t have to talk about anything. As long as you keep purring in my ear I will listen for hours, especially if you have a deep voice. I admit it. A deep voice is one of the sexiest sounds I know. This is personal communication which is very important to a healthy relationship.

I don’t plan to stop asking questions any time soon. I may try to limit myself to only a few a day. But trust me, I’m listening. I like talking to my friends and family. I like getting to know people. So if you get a call or email from me and I ask you 20 questions, don’t sweat it. I’m just making conversation.

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