Conversations can be fascinating. Not just the topics, but how one topic leads to another. From what I’ve seen, women seem to jump from topic to topic. Men seem to pick a topic, discuss it until they are done with it, and then move on. Their conversations seem to have a clear break between one topic and the next, or at least a clearer break than conversations where the topic is constantly changing, seemingly at will. This fluid conversation may be the reason people are always asking themselves, “Now what was I saying?”
Ironically, one day, there was a group of us in my brother's kitchen having a conversation. At one point we noticed we were saying, “Speaking of” quite frequently. As the number of uses increased, it became a must-have accessory to the conversation. We went out of our way to use our newfound bridging statement every time there was a change in topic. I must admit, it was much easier to follow the conversation when we were pointing out the connection between one topic and the next. There was no ambiguity; it became a game.
I enjoy playing Crib with my husband. Well, I use the terms “enjoy” and “playing” loosely. Let’s just say I take pictures of the board when I win, and I don’t have a very big collection of pictures. In fact, I can scroll through the pictures on my phone and tell you the dates when those wins took place. This look also allows me to look at other pictures that I’ve taken over the year. Checking for a win is like taking a trip down memory lane.
Speaking of…memory lane
I wasn’t even aware that I was thinking about it, but as Valentine’s Day approached, I realized that my anniversary as a breast cancer survivor was also approaching. It’s hard to believe but it’s been six years since my diagnosis. Heck, I had to be told the exact date when I received my diagnosis. I didn’t remember. For me, the memorable events were the treatments and side effects.
In addition to bad memories, there’s also a lot of laughter. With a collection of fake boobs and wigs, and a slightly demented story-teller, how could anything go wrong? Is there any way there couldn’t be laughter?
The other day, my husband bought a box of chocolate eclairs. There were “only” six in the box, and three people willing to eat them. This meant each of us would get two eclairs with fabulous whipped cream and decadent chocolate. Yum.
I ate one as dessert the day we bought them; however, trying to be nice, I decided to let my husband have my second one. I hoped he would eat it while I was at work the next day so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it when I got home (a new form of dieting). Unfortunately, when I got home, that darn éclair was still there, looking back at me from inside the box that unfortunately had a window in the lid.
As I admired the éclair, and tried to convince my husband that he should be the one to eat it, my husband told me that it was mine. Who knew that you could argue about who should eat something that neither one of you should eat? Ultimately, I caved. I couldn’t take it any longer, so I took a bite. Within seconds, my husband suggested that we could share it. This is where the laughter started.
There’s nothing like biting into an éclair and having the filling squeeze out the sides. It’s a messy process and so I shouldn’t have been surprised that at least one of us (me), ended up with a very messy face. It’s funny, but the laughter involved with sharing the éclair was better than the actual éclair. It was spontaneous and fun.
I’m having fun on Facebook with someone I’ve never met. Our only connection is a mutual cousin, but we’re from different families. I communicate with this woman, Marg, using Messenger. She has become yet someone else who is promoting my book and, as an added bonus, giving me links and content that I can use on my website. Each time she does either of these activities, I thank her. It’s gotten to the point where hello and thank you can be used interchangeably. It’s also become a running joke, and yet another thing that makes at least two of smile. It always amazes me that the littlest things can make such a difference in someone’s life.
Speaking of…making a difference
Many of us miss opportunities to make a difference. We either don’t recognize opportunities or we believe anything that we could do wouldn’t really matter. Luckily, sometimes we make a difference without even knowing it; the effort is that small. It could be as simple as smiling at someone who happened to be having a bad day. You just never know.
In other cases, a bigger effort is required. For example, when I didn’t receive the proper care during my cancer experience I wrote letters and reports, had follow-up phone conversations, and met with several people from the medical facility where I was having issues. This meeting took two hours, but it gave me the opportunity to discuss my areas of concern with the people who could actually make changes.
It’s never too late to change or trigger change. Change your communication techniques. Look for opportunities to affect change.
Listen. I said listen.
Half of communication is listening. It will help you find opportunities to improve yourself and the world around you.
Take up the challenge and figure out the best way for you to close any gaps in communication.
Over 30-years of writing experience, over five years as a cancer survivor, and a lifetime purveyor of wit and laughter.