05 Mar Sorry I Can’t Stop To Chat… I’ve Forgotten How!
It might sound silly to some but for a huge number of us it’s true. Unfortunately. It could be due to living on a farm and feeling isolated, it could be because you work alone, it could be several reasons. Whatever the reason, forgetting how to communicate with people happens, especially in rural life, and when it does its stressful and embarrassing and you just go completely blank. For me it was a mixture of baby, work and farm, and I’m sure these are the main reasons for many.
As you know I started to feel isolated after having Hugo. I suddenly had a tiny baby and although I had four nephews so was used to being around babies, it’s nothing like having your own is it? I didn’t have friends in the area and other than my sister I didn’t have anyone to ‘talk baby’ with.
I was no longer working. Before I went on maternity leave I was working as a Healthcare Assistant and was meeting, and talking to hundreds of different people every week. Then maternity started and suddenly I saw nobody but the dogs and flashes of Farmer Ben on the yard that I can just see from my living room window!
And to top it off I was now living an hour away from my hometown, friends and family. On a farm, out in the sticks! I think I have found it more difficult because I come from a small town where nearly everybody knows me. Up until moving to the farm I had always lived in that town, I had always gone to the same school… I never had to do ‘New’. And then when I did move to the farm I didn’t know the locals, I didn’t know anyone. So I forced myself to go to baby groups in the nearest town where they all knew each other already and nobody really reached out, why would you when you already have a bunch of friends? I’d share small talk if I was lucky, but that’s all it was.
So that goes on for a year or so and then before you know it you find yourself completely unable to hold conversations at all! And its horrible isn’t it? It makes you feel so awkward and embarrassed and the more you stress about it the more words just turn to mush in your head and you find yourself just awkwardly inching away, praying that your child will fall over or get stuck in the soft play equipment so that you can tell the uncomfortable looking person “Oh I’m so sorry my child needs me, I’d better go!” You walk away feeling shit about yourself and even more lonely than ever! I experience this all the time now, especially since my boys started preschool. Before they started I thought “Thank god! Maybe I’ll finally meet some people that I can form friendships with!” Sadly that hasn’t happened for me, the main reason I believe, like the baby group scenario, is because all of the parents already know each other from living in the same village, whereas I live on the farm several miles away. The other reason being because now that I seem to have forgotten how to talk I just can’t seem to engage with people! My mum and sister will tell me to put myself out there more and I do try but that doesn’t come naturally to everyone does it? Some of us are quite shy, and as the years of less and less contact with humans goes on, you turn into a hermit that just cannot remember how to hold a simple conversation!
So I’ve been giving this one a lot of thought and as always I really want to help other women experiencing these problems, so I’ve come up with a very easy way to remember how to do what most would consider the simplest of tasks… making and holding a conversation! And I’ve named it C.H.A.T…
The whole experience can be a lot less stressful if you remember to CHAT. I’m not joking. This week I’ve put my method to the test in several situations and I can honestly say that I came away from the conversation feeling happier and more confident in myself. It really does work and so I’ll let you in on it, its really very simple actually!
C – COMPLIMENT – We all love a compliment don’t we!? You know how it feels when somebody tells you you’ve lost weight, or that your hair looks good… You want to be their best friend forever so that they’ll tell you more nice things! And it’s so easy to do too “Oh my god I love your coat, where did you get it?” or “Have you had your hair done? Oh you haven’t? It just looks so shiny!” …You get my point.
H – HAPPY FACE – Simple right? Just smile because nobody wants to talk to a miserable cow. That’s real easy… unless, like me, you suffer from resting bitch face! I have to concentrate so hard to not look like I just caught you snogging my husband that I come away absolutely knackered after and have face ache for the rest of the day! But to those sufferers, really try to look happy and froofy (Is that even a word?). Even if to do that you have to imagine the person butt naked, pushing bales of straw around in the cow shed!
A – ASK – Everyone and I mean everyone likes to talk about themselves! Unfortunately we tend to live in a self obsessed world where people aren’t really that interested in others, so if you start a conversation talking about yourself then you’re going to find that you’re talking TO yourself very soon! So ask them about them…
“Where do you live?”
“What do you do?”
“Your dog is adorable, is it a boy or a girl? What breed?”
You might already know the answer but you can pretend… Anything to get them to say a sentence or more back, so that hopefully whilst they are talking you can grab another topic from what they say which will then carry the conversation along. Because that’s what we are looking for here, a chance to carry on a conversation where you can then bounce back and forth from each other.
T – TOPIC – I think it’s always a good idea to have a ‘Go to Topic’ in the back of your head that you can whip out when things are looking dry. If you decide on just one topic you are unlikely to forget it. Pick something that most people will be able to relate to, maybe the weather, if they have kids then that’s always a good topic, maybe you work in similar industries… If they farm you are always onto a winner! Whatever you choose make sure that you can make interesting conversation from it that will enable the person you are talking to to return the conversation.
And it can be as simple as that. OK it might not feel simple to those who really struggle with chit chat but keep practising and I promise it will get easier. Like I said, I’ve tried and tested this method and I have come away feeling really good about myself!
Please let me know how you are affected, how you cope and of course how you get on with my method by commenting below!
Love & Hugs