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May 11, 2013 at 1:35 am #35381ClementineParticipant
I am not a native speaker either, but from Germany. Here we have a saying “Einsicht ist der erste Schritt zur Besserung” – which means that if you understand and face your weakness, this is the first step to change. To my mind it is half of the process and your success is merely a matter of time, once you faced your problem.
I do understand your problem, because I have a friend who does exactly the same thing. This makes it hard to hang out with her and some of our friends have stopped to invite her to parties because she would “ruin” the whole atmosphere with her dominant conversational habits. Another problem of hers is that she would become louder every time someone joins in to the conversation and she “wasn’t through with her topic”. She wouldn’t even stop when people are obviously annoyed. It is pretty bad because she is a very interesting person at the same time. I think, the best way to overcome your problem is to train new skills.
1. Maybe make a list of alternative behavious, for example, if you want to talk about something (your job for example or more specific your realtionship to your boss) – ask the other person about the same thing and commit to listen and not talking about yourself until asked.
2. Second, train to keep stories short. Train to tell stories in 5 sentences and really cut to the essential.
3. As soon as you notice you are boring someone or losing someones attention, just say “sorry, I am tiring you.” /or: “Sorry, I am getting carried away, I am working on that one” – this can make it easier for people to accept your weakness and gives them the feeling that you will change. Also they are more likely to give you feedback in situations when you lose track.
8. accept silences. When there is a silence, wait for the other person to pick a topic.
4. ask a good friend to remind you every time, you talk too much, e.g. by touching your shoulder. This can be painful, (because she touches your shoulder all the time;D ) but might be very effective and trains your awareness quickly.
5. create reminders. For example, go out and buy yourself a really nice piece of jewelry. That can be a ring, necklace or a braclett, just try to get something you would wear every day. This piece will be a thankyou to yourself for realizing your problem and commiting to change – to treat yourself well. Secondly it is a reminder. Try to find a symbol for silence and listening when picking out the jewelry. Whenever you are in a social situation where your problem might occur, touch this symbol. It will calm you.
You can also hang up visual reminders in your home/car, etc. Cards or pictures with nice sayings around the theme of listening/silence. This can also be very effective!
6. Breathe 3 times when you think, you are nervous or make it a habit to go to the toilet every once in a while. For example, set your mobile phone for a certain time, only to go to the toilet and remind yourself that there is no need to be anxious and that you will commit to listening again.
7. Be your best friend. Imagine you are the best friend of Amy and she tells you about her problem, what would you say to cheer her up? Hey, you did a good job, no one is perfect in a day, hey, you tried. I am proud, you don’t give up – and so on. Try to start talking to yourself like that. This can also be very effective.
Maybe there is something in this list that can help you. Good luck and best wishes from Germany. Clementine