To Talk or Not to Talk: I Don’t Know Either (and that’s a good thing)

I don’t like to talk a lot. Sometimes people take this as a sign of being disinterested. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Instead of running my mouth, I like to watch, observe, listen, and learn more than talk. For me, the old adage is true: God gave me one mouth and two ears for a reason. So if I am not necessarily talking to you at length, do not take offense. If you must engage, try asking what I am watching and observing while listening and learning. Then we can have a conversation. I try to control the amount of talking I do. Not everyone does!

If I am talking a lot, then you have one or two things going for you. You either sparked my interest by trying to figure me out, or I just like you in that given moment. Perhaps nothing makes me pay attention more than a person who tries to solve the mystery that is me. You can’t because I am too complex! But, I love giving insights about me here and there that will make you say “AHA”! I am a closed book, so if you have read a few of my chapters then consider yourself lucky. I must have allowed you to turn a few pages in my book after telling you what they might say.

Or it could be I just like you (in that particular moment). We all have a filter for how much we talk to our friends and acquaintances. Some people get in to my inner-circle and I’ll talk to them, others don’t. Wait, I just realized my inner-circle is damn near nonexistent! It consists of one person who I communicate with almost every day. That’s it. But I do have a few others who enter my inner-circle whenever we get together. In those moments I like them! They can get me to talk, but I am still watching, observing, listening, and learning. If they can’t get me to talk when we get together…

I have a creed that I want to share. If you have heard this before, then it means you are very important to me. If not, I will let you have it anyway: when I speak, I know what I am talking about. I don’t fake the funk, chew the fat, nor shoot the breeze. You know how some people just talk as if they know something (or everything). Well that is not me. I will tell you when I don’t know something. Or you can take my silence to mean I don’t know. But when I talk I speak with knowledge and authority. I am strictly business most of the time, especially when I talk. Sure I will joke like everyone else, but most of the time if you hear me speaking it is something important and I know what I am talking about.

Speaking of joking, I’d like to think I have a good sense of humor. I guess you can say I have chime –in humor, not stand-up humor. In other words, I can enhance your story by adding my own brand of humor as needed. I am not the greatest of storytellers. I can turn a funny story into a “guess you had to be there” story in a minute. On the other hand, if you tell a “guess you had to be there” story, I can help you make it funny. Sometimes my humor comes out on cue and then it is funny! Some of the time I can say something “funny” without thinking it was funny. On rare occasions I will crack myself up as I am talking. I actually like talking then!

So what things do I really like to talk about? It depends on who I am speaking to. If you make it into my inner-circle then nothing is off limits. If not, we can talk sports… sports… and more sports. We can also discuss successful people, successful things, and successful outcomes. Hell, let’s just talk about success! We can also wax poetic about the best of my/our past. I love to get nostalgic, so if we shared good times and good memories bring them out. Let’s rap about it! You can sprinkle in talking about politics as long as you keep an open-mind (no Obama bashing alright). Honestly I think that’s about all I want to talk about. If you can get me to talk at length about something else, then I must like you (in that particular moment of course).

Want me to talk? Then ask me to teach you something I know. I will open the floodgates and you might not get me to stop talking. As crazy as it sounds, for someone who doesn’t like to talk, I sure like to teach! It is as if I become someone else when I am teaching. Give me a good history lesson and a captive audience: it’s on! Ask me how to write with purpose or to explain a success principle or two: let’s go!  You can be prepared to meet the professor when you want an answer and I’m the one who can supply it. It fascinates me how I can teach for hours, but I can’t talk for 5 minutes. Go figure!

I will let you in on a secret. Sometimes I “talk” better as a writer than I do when I am actually talking. Or maybe I am good at writing what I should be saying. Or maybe when I write I am really saying what I should be talking. As I said to a dear friend when I couldn’t find the right words to say, I tend to get it right when I write. So maybe I should do more writing and even less talking. I could write what I want to say and let people read it. Wait a minute- most people don’t read. Scratch that idea. I guess I still have to talk, but only if I know what I am talking about!

If you got this far, I wonder if you are thinking “what was this all about”?  Honestly I don’t know either! Maybe it is for someone who is just like me. You know me now: I’m the introverted personality type who doesn’t like to talk a lot. Maybe it is for me to rethink why I do not talk a lot. Maybe it is to prove that talking is not always better than watching, observing, listening, and learning. Maybe it was just something to “talk” about! Anyway I think I “told” you more information than you needed to know. Let’s recap what I said to find out shall we…

I like to watch, observe, listen and learn more than I like to talk.

If I am talking maybe you sparked my interest because you are interested in me. Or I am talking because I like you.

I speak with knowledge and authority.

I can inject humor into your story, but not into my own.

I can talk about sports (and a few other things) all day.

When teaching, I can talk for a long, long, long time.

I can write the words I want to say better than I can actually say them.

I have no idea why we talked about the reasons why I talk and do not like to talk!