There are some people in the world who, under certain circumstances, are only talking to themselves, but they do it around other people to make themselves feel less crazy. Let’s call these people: talkers.
Talkers appear to be listening when you talk to them, only it’s a special kind of listening. The words don’t go straight to a talker’s brain. Instead, they flow into a storage chamber tucked somewhere between their ears and brain. It’s a chamber that holds these words on a reserve basis. Sometimes those words are accessed, and the talker will have a delayed reaction to what you said. Othertimes your words just wither, never to be heard from again.
I accuse my father of doing this, and I’ve known some of my friends to do it as well, but the worst feeling is looking back on times when I realize I’m just a talker and another person’s words went straight to my storage chamber instead of my brain. What happens is, I’m not able to internalize and respond to what the person said, so my internal monologue just runs on audible autopilot as if I was practicing a speech or talking to an empty room. Just spilling my guts.
In my experience, people with the most active storage chambers are the ones who want to be heard the worst. They need to be heard constantly, desperately, as if they’d explode if they didn’t get the words talked out of their body. It’s not a blatant disrespect for the other person, it’s just an unstoppable need that overpowers their consideration for the other party. Imagine a river trying to consider the rocks it passes.
We all want to be heard, because we want to be understood and know that we’re not alone. If you notice you’re relying on the storage chamber during a conversation, try to kick yourself out of it and really focus on the other person. The conversation will be more genuine and you’ll be able to establish an actual connection. We all want to be heard, which means we all need to listen without our storage chambers.