I know. It sometimes seems like I’m not paying attention.
But there’s a really good reason for that. Sometimes, I’m not paying attention.
But listen, don’t take it personally, it isn’t you, it’s more likely to be what you’re talking about.
And it isn’t that it isn’t important enough, it’s just that … well …
It could be…
It could be one of several things.
If I’ve already heard it before, I’ve already heard it before. Listening again could be like having my teeth pulled.
If it is something that I can’t even fake an interest in, I’m sorry, but I’m not wired that way.
But oddly enough
It could be something I’ve never heard before.
And it might be something that I might normally be quite keen to hear about.
But if I’m a little stressed, and you’re looking to tell me the Reader’s Digest Condensed version with all the details and no time for questions, I’m going to get lost really quickly.
I know, that’s odd
Yes, my mind works fast, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to follow your train of thought.
What my mind is really quick with is noticing things you’ve left out, and wandering off in another direction trying to figure out what it was that you didn’t tell me.
I also will be drawing lines between what you’re telling me and my own life experiences. And that can be really distracting.
I’ll have no trouble finding myself drifting away from your conversation and into my own world.
And I will come back to the conversation, but I may have already missed enough to be lost.
Not to be rude, but …
Now at this point I’m liable to think that you might give me enough hints that I can catch up again. And interrupting you and asking what you had been saying, you were speaking so earnestly, well, that might bring that look of disappointment to your face, the one I really hate to see.
It looks like I’ve let you down, that’s the look I can’t stand. So my choice is almost always to let you keep talking and hope for one of two outcomes.
First, that you’ll drop enough clues that I figure out what I missed (and that often happens) or second, that you’ll finish up telling me and we can part ways with you secure in the knowledge that you told me everything you needed to and me secure in the knowledge that I may never actually need to know what you told me.
There’s a chance that you’ll catch on that I’m faking it. And then you’ll think I’m an idiot because I didn’t understand you. (You won’t realize that I wasn’t actually party to the conversation.)
And that will cause me stress. And the stress will overwhelm me. And the more you talk, the more I’m going to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
When I’m overwhelmed by information and emotion, I lose my ability to focus. At this point it’s not that I’m not interested, it’s that I cannot process anymore.
And when I get to that point, it’s really not that I’m not interested. It’s really, really not.