>This is kind of like part 2 – or a follow up to this post: http://perceptionsby1.blogspot.com/2011/01/ive-never-liked-red-brick-can-i-be.html
So I may be a brick wall, a conversation stopper, and hard to talk to at times, but I realized tonight that I live with a Bulldozer. (Or maybe a wrecking ball, but that sounds a little harsh.) You know, the personality type that once they get started, they don’t stop? I’m not even sure that me listening is a requirement for the conversation. Okay, I withdraw that statement, because my Bulldozer gets very offended if I’m not listening.
Now, I realize that this is going to sound a little selfish, but I had plans tonight. Not big party plans, but they were plans, nonetheless. I am working on a project, and I was going to put some time in on it. Plus I have about 4 blog titles and outlines started, and I was thinking I might work on one of them. I had stuff I wanted to be doing. Now, we are called to live outside of ourselves, and to live selflessly, and I am trying to learn how to do this in the way that God calls me to. I am also realizing that balance is not the key to everything, and that I need to seek God first. I also have dreams, goals and aspirations that I want to accomplish. I’m not sure how to fit all of that in, and I’m sure I could stand to spend more time praying and less time trying to fix it myself.
Tonight I had much I wanted to accomplish, but the Bulldozer was on a mission. My best attempt at brick-walling wasn’t enough. I got the grand pleasure of hearing about commodity stock in bison (note the sarcasm? I mean, I’m sure it’s a fascinating topic if you’re into commodity stock. Or bison.) and I know everything of significance that happened in The Green Mile – the book and movie – and I didn’t even know it was a book. I’ll never have to read that one. Or watch the movie. Thank you. I can honestly say that it sounds like one that I would have enjoyed – but that’s alright. I also know all about I am Legend and the differences between the book and the movie. Not too big of deal and not too interesting – I never watched that movie on purpose, and again, I didn’t know it was a book.
Then there was the part that almost turned into a dialogue (as opposed to the mostly monologue previous part of the conversation) and it was a disagreement. Nothing heated or rude, just two people, with two vastly differing opinions on what we would do/how we would live if we ever were blessed with a large sum of money. This was a bit hard for me, because I have huge dreams for what I would do with a large sum of money, and none of them really lined up with what the Bulldozer would do with a large sum of money. Ah well, that’s how it goes, right?
As I’m thinking about this, I’m wondering how many other people face these same communication issues. How many of you are a brick wall, like me, and are generally masters at shutting down a conversation before it ever gets started, because you just don’t feel like dealing with it? Not to say there’s never a good reason, but I’m guessing there are a lot more excuses than reasons. (You know what an excuse is, right? An excuse is a lie that only you believe.) And how often do the people in our life feel crushed by the inability to complete a thought and share a dream or goal or interest with us because we won’t listen?
On the flip side, how many of you are bulldozers? And how often is it that you plow right through the other persons goal, dream, or interest, because you have something that just must be said? (I mean, commodity stock in bison is a pressing issue, right?) You get all fired up by something and you can see that the person you are trying to share with is trying to work on something, but you’re just going to share this one thought and you’ll let them be, but that one thought turns into a mudslide of information and pretty soon the other person has been derailed and is frustrated.
I’m sure many arguments have been started simply because of these two personality/communication issues. Its not like I mean to be a brick wall and refuse an incoming wealth of information. I know that my Bulldozer doesn’t mean to overlook what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m sure if we were to admit it though, we both walk away from nights like this feeling frustrated. When he gets the brick wall, I see him get frustrated. When I get bulldozed, I feel frustrated.
I think we both have a lot to learn. I know there are times when I need to set aside myself and what I’ve decided to accomplish and listen. I also think there are times when my Bulldozer needs to turn off the engine and set aside what he’s decided needs to be said. Obviously, there are times when a truly pressing issue is at hand, and it would be ideal if we could both come to place where the bulldozer is off, the brick wall is down, and we can take honest, open turns sharing with one another. This post has way more to do with the average, every day conversation that makes life interesting…and occasionally boring too. (I mean, commodity stock in bison, really?)
I do have to note that at one point my Bulldozer made a valiant attempt at letting me get down to business. He put in his headphones, turned on NPR (yep, that’s how he found out about commodity stock in bison….), and I didn’t hear a word from him for probably 10 minutes, but the sound of him munching on his chips while he did his thing drove me so up the wall I decided to go to bed. He was chewing with his mouth closed, minding his own business and I just really needed more silence than that. These are the joys of sharing a home with someone that sometimes are much less joyful that I care to admit. Learning to share space, time, conversation, comfort, and everything else that comes with a home is a very difficult task, no matter how great you (or the the other person) are!
What is your communication misstep? Do you bulldoze? Brick wall? Or something else? How can you put yourself aside to ease the situation and improve the communication? How do you respond when your frustrated by someone else’s communication misstep?