Matt Forney
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Audition Conversations: The Misery of Modern-Day Conversation

pointless-conversation

This is a guest post by Alex.

A few months back I noticed my father and his younger brother having a conversation about each other’s lives. My uncle is a brain surgeon in the U.S. and my father is a first generation immigrant living in India where he raised a family. They were talking about stuff that I did not find particularly interesting: however, what struck me was the way the conversation went about.

During the conversation both my father and his brother took long pauses of up to several minutes before speaking about something. They felt no compulsion to be funny, tell a good story or hold the other person’s attention. In short, they did not feel any need for validation or approval from the other person. I first thought that it was because they are brothers and have a level of comfort that enabled them to do so; however, when a mutual friend came along, the pattern repeated. There were long pauses that were not at all awkward, most of the talk was mundane and no one tried to one up the other or cut the other person off in the middle of the conversation. This to me was absolutely striking as I have experienced exactly the opposite of what I saw there.

For example, whenever I am around with a friend of mine there is an instinctive need among both of us to talk non-stop; we both fear dead air like the radio business. A common result of this anxiety is that we usually run out of things to talk very quickly. The rest of the time, we rack our brains at a hundred miles per hour to come up with something to talk about, which usually leads to exaggeration and padding. I have noticed the same with all of my friends and the situation becomes even more hopeless in front of girls where it is almost like an episode of a cookie cutter talent show with one minute to impress the judges. However, this post is about the conversation dynamics among men so I will leave that stuff for later.

In a group, the environment becomes even more desperate with everyone trying to out-talk and outshine the other person. It reminds me of one of the group discussion sessions in colleges or job interviews where one has to out-talk or put down the other person in a battle royale so as to gain the approval of the judges. The saddest part of the whole story is that there is no judge or a reward to be given for “winning” the conversation audition. I assume that all the readers will know what I am talking about as they have experienced the same thing.

This tendency of people to lapse into an audition mode as soon as there is a conversation with anyone, trying to keep their attention (mostly by trying to make them laugh) through non-stop talking is what I call the Audition Conversation. And as with so many other things, this is an American export, which as the Rome of modern world decides the culture in the provinces. The typical two-minute attention span of an average American has now found its way all across the world, leading to people approaching any conversation like an audition where they seek to keep the attention of the other person. Rather than have a fulfilling, stress-relieving conversation of my father’s generation, the conversations nowadays have the exact opposite effect.

The remedies that I suggest for the above-mentioned problem are my own (I have only personal experience to vouch for) are as follows:

  1. Do not talk if you don’t want to. This is not as easy as it seems and the key to mastering it is to practice it. A while back, I stopped trying to impress or humour the people I interacted with and did not say anything when I had nothing to talk about. It was really awkward and tough in the beginning; however, a few attempts and you will quickly lose your anxiety.
  2. Do not fear the other person leaving. This is a common fear that people have in this insane, validation-seeking society of ours. I no longer try to drag on a conversation even it gets tiring and usually leave when there is nothing to talk about or I derive no further utility from the company of the other person. Again, this will be difficult at first; however, after a few attempts, it will come naturally to you. Make sure that you are organic in your withdrawal and the other person does not feel that you used him as a therapist without hearing his side of the story. The best time to leave is when the conversation becomes stale and you will know when it does.
  3. Do not exaggerate. This is probably the hardest step to follow. As human beings, we instinctively crave drama. Deep in our hearts, we want titillation, deeds of valour or anything which would add spice to our mundane lives. The problem comes when we make things up to fill that void. This manifests itself most remarkably in our tendency to overdramatize a mundane event or even a different event that takes place in our lives. You have to stop the urge to exaggerate your deeds and that by itself will take away the validation-seeking mentality which has been bred into us by the pop culture of our times. You also have to let go of the need to cast yourself as the hero/winner of the story or claim a moral victory when the facts suggest clear defeat or surrender. Basically, do not lie to yourself.

In the end, I would like to tell all the readers that conversations over time will be much less stressful and productive once the audition mentality is gone. You will be filled with a new sense of confidence.

Alex is a second generation immigrant living in India and has started a journey of self-improvement. He seeks to share his experiences and learn from other people’s experiences in the manosphere. He also seeks to be a man of action who aims for intellectual, physical and economic growth through his relationship from the manosphere. Alex is a firm believer that the U.S. is the modern day Rome and the entire world are just provinces of the imperial capital; thus, he is highly interested and invested in the affairs of the capital.

Read Next: The Perfect Conversation: Win Any Girl with Words by Nicholas Jack

  • AKA

    I like it

  • Tenny

    Interesting!!

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  • I’ve already been realizing this and I’m only 22. Not that age has everything to do with it, but rather maturity does. I don’t think this is a quality of modern conversation, but rather it’s a quality of people of a certain emotional maturity level. I feel it probable that people at this maturity level from any time period could feel this way, and did/would. It’s not a time period thing. It’s a personal, maturity thing.

  • Diki

    Very Well written