Do you know the best way to get someone to tell you a joke? Tell them a joke. While you are telling your joke, the other person is going through the joke rolodex in their mind to come up with a joke to tell you when you’re done. i learned this from Dr. Rob Gilbert. It is human nature and works almost all the time but there is a danger in this.
I noticed that it isn’t just limited to jokes and therein lies the danger. Last week i’d had a terrible morning; my pet chickens were killed by foxes who managed to break in to the coop overnight. When i discovered the carnage in the morning i was really upset. I couldn’t shake off the sadness all day. I must have been wearing it on my face because one of my coworkers commented that I wasn’t myself. I said, “I guess it shows. I had a really rough morning.” But before i could go on to say why my morning was rough she said, “Oh my God, me too.” and then went on to tell me about a flood she had in her basement, the late and crowded train she had to ride, and the big splash that hit her when a truck passed too close to the curb on her way to the office, soaking her outfit. By the time she was done, my opening statement (and my feelings) were forgotten and it felt silly to bring it back up so i just commiserated with her about her rough morning and went about my business.
I noticed later in the week that i did the same thing to my wife. When she said “I had a rough night sleeping” I jumped in about how I’d slept before before i listened to her story about what kept her up and how she felt etc.
The joke rolodex is a very real part of human nature and, in joke telling, is probably harmless. Relating and matching during a conversation is a good thing but not at the cost of good listening. I have begun to notice more about how i listen. Am i listening with the intent to reply or am i listening to understand? These little episodes from last week have me resolved to make a conscious effort to practice the latter.
2015Motto…“Life is choice. Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”