I don’t know if it’s my own self-centeredness or the self-centeredness of others that makes my mind wander. To put it bluntly, I really don’t care. I think it’s in the details where you lose me. I don’t need to know every minutiae of daily life. Most people are ill-equipped to be human pro/con lists to manage risk. At this point you are wondering how I have any friends. The truth is that I try to keep my life as simple as possible, which means that my closest friends generally get to the point. I return the favor by being succinct myself.
When I delve deeper into the motivations of my intolerance it’s that I don’t like indecisiveness. You know that inability to make decision stems from fear. Fear of faltering, fear of messing up. Now this is where I get confused. If you decide to go one route and it ends up being a mistake there are two outcomes: you live with it or you fix it. How does this exactly affect members of your inner circle?
Additionally, the sticking point for me is the distinction between a conversation and a monologue. Having a discussion with someone means that there is a give and take. You speak a bit about your experiences and then you ask a question or two and allow that person to elaborate. Or perhaps they will interject at an appropriate moment and offer their point of view, which will trigger how your situation relates to something in their past. This form of interaction is stimulating and offers the potential to form bonds through commonalities and rapport. Who actually likes to be talked at? Now this all hinges on the person you’re speaking to being open-minded. Judgey people are often the most boring.
Listening is the most important skill one can master. The very best people listen much more than they speak. Their contributions are thoughtful and considered. My inability to hear people’s words and my short attention-span are two of my worst traits and ones that I’m truly trying to improve. I’m trying to care, really. But if being self-involved means that I’m reflexive, well that’s just something that’s never going to go away. Being critical and judgmental are two different barrels of fish.