I talk too much.
Granted, there are some people who don't mind this. They can rant and rave and ramble as well as I can and we get along just fine.
But there are other folks I talk to, talk way too much to, and after I get done my monologue and there's finally silence hanging in the air, I'm kicking myself for taking 17 sentences to say what I could have said in 5. In my head I replay my run-on paragraphs, my lack of pertinent information, my silly anecdotes that did nothing but take up precious time, and my lengthening tale of woe that just went on and on ....when actually, I'd made my point minutes if not hours before.
I see this as a sign of weakness, because I don't think it's an especially attractive quality.
We all have people like this in our lives. The ones you see coming down the hall and you think, "I need to dart into the rest room before she reaches me because I just don't have time for a story..." or, "Don't make eye contact because you know once he starts talking, it's going to be at least 10 minutes."
I don't want to be one of those people.
So I'm going to need to work on this.
Truth to tell, I'm finding it to be more of a conscious effort than I thought it would be. For me, telling a short story is something of an art form that I am growing to appreciate. I'm learning that I can say just a few lines about something and the hearer is really quite content. I'm learning that the less I talk, the more it gives someone else the space to do the same. And I'm learning that me saying less allows me to listen more.
Which is always a good thing.
This is something that I've sensed God nudging me about and that I've taken on as a personal challenge for 2013; to be others-centered, and to not be so worried about getting my two cents in that I don't really take time to stop and listen to what someone is telling me. To not just be planning what I'm going to say the whole time someone is speaking to me. To practice speaking succinctly and thereby speaking less, yet hearing more.
If talking is art, then listening is even better art.
I'm all ears.