JEFF BAHR'S COLUMN: No one is receptive to my input
Mar 09, 2013 (American News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
I'm used to being ignored. Most people stop listening once they get to know me, if not weeks before.
So I'm impressed when I hear new ways of people telling me they've tuned me out.
One evening here at work, while I was prattling on, I worried aloud that I might be boring Dave Vilhauer.
"You're not boring me. I'll let you know when I actually start listening," he said.
Another time, he said it didn't matter what I said. "Because I stopped listening about 10 minutes ago."
One good thing about his technique, he said, is that I never really know when he stops listening. But how do I know when he starts
You probably know Dave, who's a wonderful guy and a legendary sportswriter. He's also very busy this time of year. I know, because I sit just a few feet away. Sometimes, I'm surprised that he gets all of his work done.
Maybe the reason Dave is so good is that he has learned to focus. One day, he told me he can tune his wife out. It's an ability he has.
I know what it's like to be on the receiving end. When I talk to people, they seem inordinately interested in something else.
The other day, my wife said I'm just lucky she answers the phone when I call.
I guess her life is a busy one, filled with phone calls and people needing things.
On the other hand, I must be an endless source of noise.
Recently, my wife called from another room that she couldn't hear what I was saying, but she'd catch up with me when she could. I wasn't saying a word. I was sitting there minding my own business.
I don't even know why I bother to talk.
When I tell a story, people start jingling change in their pocket impatiently. Or they just walk away.
Since no one invites me to speak, I awkwardly insert myself into conversations.
If people would give me the chance, they'd find that I hang on every word. As a listener, I am uncommonly gifted.
Perhaps I simply speak too much, or at the wrong time. People are indifferent to my comments because I make too many of them.
Former Aberdonian Arlene Mewing once saw a T-shirt that said, "Help, I'm talking and I can't shut up."
Jeff Bahr is an American News reporter. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His phone number is 605-622-2320.
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