“When a friend tells you a story about themselves at a beach, do you automatically think about your own beach story to tell? If you do, then you’re being a narcissist.” Or so Rabbi Shmuley said yesterday during his radio show on Oprah and Friends. The show was actually about “bad boys” and why women seem attracted to them, but he also said that even the best of men have a streak of “bad boy” in them somewhere. One if his goals is to rid himself of narcissistic behavior and then said the above quote.
It struck me when he said it because I have to admit that I do that! A friend will be telling me a story and I’m often reminded of a similar experience in my own life. Now before you all get on me about being too hard on myself again, I think this is worth looking at. Of course, just being simply reminded of something isn’t all that bad but if you’re just waiting for your friend to pause long enough so you can get YOUR story out, then I think it’s becoming an issue.
Have you ever had the thought after leaving a conversation with a friend, that “oops! I think I totally took over that conversation.”? Well, I have. I’ve always thought about myself as just talkative but I can totally see where it’s a narcissistic behavior. Or do you give yourself over completely to the story your friend is telling?
Several years ago, I took a communication workshop. We did an exercise where we divided into pairs and had to practice the art of listening. We had a facilitator sitting with each group during the activity. The exercise was that we would actively listen to our partner’s story and repeat back certain points along the way. I thought I had it in the bag because I was SUCH a good listener. When my partner began talking I was fully trained on her and what she was expressing to me. Then she came to a scenario about her parents which totally reminded me of something similar to my parents. That’s when the facilitator stopped her and asked me what she just said about what she was feeling. Huh? She was just talking about her parents – I didn’t hear a word about what she was feeling, and I had to admit that, too. Needless to say I felt like a heel. “I’m sorry I didn’t hear how you were feeling because I was too busy thinking about myself!” Thankfully, that was the whole point of the exercise and my partner didn’t do too much better herself (we narcissists like company).
So, I guess it’s just something I’ll keep in mind for the future. Listen. With my whole heart – not with half of it on my own experiences and thoughts or desires. I can tell that this will be a challenge. One of those that will take time and practice.
It struck me as ironic while I wrote this that blogging is a narcissist’s dream. LOL Post after post about…your’s truly! 😆