There’s something about me. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve sensed it for many years. I’m the type of person who people like to talk to – more specifically, talk at. I say “at” because these people don’t want to hear what I have to say. They just want an audience. I am their dedicated audience of one.
Case in point, I was in McDonald’s this weekend to get a coffee. Not a burger. Quit judging me. I know you were. Okay, I had some fries with my coffee. Anyway, some older guy zeroes in on me and starts a conversation, then there’s a pause. I think this is where I take the information he has shared with me and I say something back that relates to it. Oh, wait, hang on – it’s not. He just needed to catch his breath. It’s still his turn to talk and still my turn to listen. I give up and occasionally nod and smile.
This happens to me a lot. Why am I a magnet for these type of people? Is it my expression? Do I feign interest too well for my own good? Is there some kind of pheromone I give off that says come tell me stuff I care nothing about for extended periods of time? I have no idea.
If it sounds like I’m playing a victim, I’m not. I know I can walk away from the conversation. It happens so often I find it almost entertaining. Plus, it’s taught me patience. Lots of patience.
Back at MickeyDs, I finally interject my only full sentence in 5 minutes of smiling and nodding. I blurt out, “It was nice talking to you. I’m gonna go over there now,” as I point over my shoulder. A bit awkward, but it works and I’m on my way. My talker wasn’t fazed one bit. He acknowledged my exit and moved onto his next target.
Perhaps what I need is one of those thumbs-up symbols we use on Facebook. I like those. They seem to denote a friendly “good communicating with you – I’m outta here.” Maybe I should print some and hand them out. Then I can be a man of even fewer words.