Most people who have known me, and by that I mean, the ones I haven’t given a cold shoulder to, know that I am a talker. I can talk quite passionately about things that interest me, things that I’ve found funny, sad, touching, annoying. And I tend to talk at length too. In one of my ex-colleague’s words, “If you ask Radhu what she had for breakfast, she will start from last weekend.”
Having said that, I don’t go about talking this way to everyone. I talk, yes; but I also try to stop before it can get irritating. At least, over the past few years I have been more conscious of that because I do understand how everyone might not be interested in everything I say. And that is absolutely fine too.
However, what irks me now and what has irked me always, is the tendency of a lot of people to not listen when someone is talking to them and even cutting them short or starting off on a new topic – related or unrelated to what is being said – just like that. You know what that is? – INSULT!
I remember my ex-boyfriend back in college looked at me once with a pretty sly grin when I was telling someone else something, I don’t remember what. I asked him why he was looking at me like that. He told me without thinking for a second how I would feel, “You talk so much to get a lot of attention, don’t you?” I froze for a moment and then walked away, to cry in the washroom. I never talked to him about that ever again. And then there was a classmate who when she was in a bad mood just asked me curtly to shut up, while I was talking to a couple of friends nearby. The funny part is that I wasn’t even talking to her.
Anyway, while these two instances might qualify to be rude and those who did it might have even been aware of it, there are many who inflict insult without realizing that they are doing it. My family members have a tendency to start talking about anything random right in the middle of another topic. More often than not, I’m the one who is cut short, in video calls, while we are all together. It pisses me off big time; but I just let it go most of the times. Once I lost it and disconnected the call abruptly. No one even understood why I did that.
There have been times, when among friends, I’ve tried to tell them something that meant a lot to me, kept getting interrupted by someone or the other talking about something unrelated, and I still tried desperately like a fool to finish what I was saying, only because I really wanted them to know. But in the end I would give up because it simply didn’t matter to anyone. For some it’s a photo or a message in their phone, for some it’s a new ornament or accessory, for some it’s a game they can’t take their eye or mind off, and for some others it’s a story of their own. Honestly, it has made me feel like a nobody.
I’m sure I must have done this at some point too, unintentionally though. And to anyone who has felt the same way I have, because of me, I’m truly sorry. I’m a lot more careful about this now and I’m positive I don’t do it anymore. To all those who haven’t thought about this, do take a minute and look back on your conversations. Please don’t let yourself be the reason someone feels unimportant.
Listen, because you want to, not because you have to. People wouldn’t talk to you if they wanted to be ignored, you know.