One of the most common questions I ask myself, the most common way I describe myself, the most common thing I work on personally is one simple word:
Am I exhausting? I think I am exhausting. How can I be less exhausting?
When I am in a conversation with a friend and either I am repeating myself, or it is getting heavy, I always step back and wonder how exhausted this person is with dealing with me.
Over the last couple of years I have attempted to pull back as much interjection and commentary as I can around family. No one ever appreciated it, anyway, so why do it?
And that is something that is really difficult for me to understand and accept. Why doesn’t anyone appreciate it? I personally like all those little things thrown into a conversation. I like to be shown how I was wrong about something. I like to be given a sidebar on the history or etymology or cultural context of something. I like to learn the little idiosyncratic things about your personality that this conversation is bringing to the front of your mind.
But most people don’t. And on top of that, most people believe I don’t like it either. I don’t really have a way to prove it otherwise, and if I belabor the point it becomes, well, exhausting. So I am forced to let it go and look like more of an asshole than I actually am, and I certainly am one.
I have learned that a lot of it is timing, and pretty much the rest of it is method of delivery. Even if I know you are blatantly wrong, I have to subvert into a lie about me one time reading something that agrees with you and saying ‘the truth is probably somewhere in the middle’ even when it isn’t. I have learned that interjected with fun facts about the topic is not good to do while the conversation is still happening, because it detracts and blah blah, but it is actually worse to wait until it is over. There is basically no good time to use fun facts. No one likes facts, let alone fun ones they weren’t expecting to hear. And worst yet, no one cares about the weird little things that pop up into my mind for whatever reason. People aren’t generally repulsed by these things, but they just don’t know what to do with them. No good can come of trying to really open up a strange weird corner of you that will probably never be exposed to sunlight again. No one cares.
It took me awhile to realize I was exhausting, but I did come to the conclusion on my own, which I am proud of (and that is an example of a little tag that really annoys people). I was probably 22 when I first discovered it, but maybe it took me until I was 26 to start reigning it in. I pretty much have control over it now. Now I just unleash my former self for fun. Now I annoy people because I want to be exhausting.
I generally have to act like I am not an annoying person, and that I think I am someone people should want to be around. But I know the truth: I am really exhausting! If I just let out all of the things that were on my mind during every conversation I had or was witness to, I wouldn’t have a single friend, a wife, or much of a family.
I’m just one of those guys, I suppose.