What Grinds Our Gears: People who make conversations about themselves

If a friend is opening up to you, listen instead of rushing to one-up them

ILLUSTRATION: Ponomariova_Maria / iStock

By: Paige Riding, Copy Editor 

Being naturally introverted, the thought of opening up to a friend or loved one about myself already bombards me with anxiety. If I do gather the mental energy to talk to someone about a matter I’ve been struggling with, I do so with the faith that they may help me work through, and maybe even feel better about, that problem.

That idea is great in theory, but it often falls apart faster than me during essay season because some people can’t seem to shut the fuck up about themselves for one measly conversation.

Nothing is more disheartening than finally getting over my inner voice screaming “no!” every time I try to talk about myself — only to have the other person immediately turn the conversation onto themselves. If I’m telling you about my stressful semester and your first response is to point out how you’re doing twice as many courses as me, maybe you should try to shake off that main character hat you’re rocking and come back down to Earth.

If someone trusts you enough to talk to you about their struggles, the least you can do as a decent human being is pause your inner monologue of self-centred responses before you say them. Instead of just waiting for your friend to finish talking so you can immediately respond, actively listen to their concerns, and don’t respond with something about yourself. Not only will this save your conversation from awkward interruptions, but it will also make you less of a jerk.

For matters big or small, your friends notice how you respond, and that response may determine if they feel they can come to you with problems in the future.