Friday, June 19, 2009

Guys Who Go On and On and On About Themselves

Terry,

I'm a single girl in late 20's. I'm fairly good looking, intelligent, kind and caring, and have lots of self-respect.

When I date guys (via online dating sites), we usually talk over the phone for about a week or so, before we plan to meet up (due to distance concerns, etc.).

Also, it makes sense for me to know if we share anything in common to meet the guy on a real date (for eg: some guys make awful jokes even over the phone, mostly it sounds more disrespectful towards me or someone else than a joke! Or they talk ill about women in general, as in, "I think a man should be the one who makes decisions in relationships" etc ...or they behave weird, i.e. leave me three voice messages within 5-10 mins when the phone gets a weak signal).

Anyway, most of the guys I've dated, seem to talk too much about themselves, they ask nothing much about me after first 5,10 mins and then keep talking about themselves!

I suspect this is because, I ask them questions that make them talk about themselves in detail. But when I pause after they're finished, they don't ask anything about me, and still keep talking 'bout themselves! Because, I'm interested (in the guy), I'll say something about the topic they're saying, and it becomes all about what the guy's saying. Even if I pause later, he gets so engrossed talking about himself, he forgets he should also know about me.

Now this has happened with at least 15-16 guys that I had phone dates with. Somehow it turned out, they were not right to even meet, as they didn't match in other departments like kindness, consistency, or at least one shared interest etc. I got to know so much about the guy, as the guy spent most of the time talking about himself, so at the end, he's no idea about me, but I know an awful lot about him. It worked for me in some ways, that I could call it off, knowing what a creep he is, when he told stories about himself.

But, I feel tired on phone dates, listening to the guy forever. My friends tell me, I should take charge and also tell them about myself, as guys are not good at asking any questions (asking questions which make a girl talk about herself ).

I feel, asking things is a sign of interest, and may be they're only interested in themselves and narcissists.

But I doubt it, as they seem very disappointed when I call it off, even before the meeting ... and genuinely seem to like me, and always make that call at the time promised, and email me during the day. Some even insist on meeting, before I make a decision to move on that early. ( I always stick to my NO though. )

So, do I have to share things about myself without asking, or am I just attracting a bunch of narcissists?

I'm a little scared of commitment seeing these guys, and I know I wouldn't feel that way, when I meet that kind, intelligent, loyal, caring man. Am I doing something wrong? I'd like to know your views about where I went wrong, if that's the case.

-Sore Ear


Dear Sore Ear-

You're doing quite a bit right, feeling these people out before you agree to meet them. And no wonder they all seem to like you; everybody likes to be listened to, and since so few people are willing to be the listener, you come off like the ideal mate.

It's possible some of these guys are narcissists. It's possible that others are too nervous or too clueless to let you do some of the talking. You ask a question, they answer. They wait for your next question. You ask it, they answer. Some of them probably aren't even aware they're bad conversationalists because you're such a good one: You ask questions. You're interested in other people. You're a good listener.

Your friends are right, though. You need to interject. So, if you ask a guy what he likes best about his job, for example, let him answer. During that pause where you hope he'll ask you about your job, you say, "The great thing about my job is...."

If he listens, good. If he cuts you off, not good (you may indeed have a narcissist, or worse, a total bore on your hands). Once you find yourself slipping into that receptacle for information mode again, you can say (in a light and friendly way), "Hey, I've riddled you with enough questions. What would you like to know about me?"

I suspect you're somewhat shy about volunteering information about yourself. It really does feel better to be asked, to know that the other person actually cares. But you probably need to get out of your comfort zone on this one.

Interject! Volunteer! Speak up!

Did you really speak to a guy who said, "I think a man should be the one who makes decisions in relationships?"

Eek. I can't imagine that poor boy will get far in life!

6 comments:

sore ear said...

Dear Terry,

Thanks a million for answering my question ! Sory, couldn't cut it down to few lines though !

You are right on, as always ! I'm a great listener and yes, you really got me, I'm very shy to volunteer information unasked !

"Hey, I've riddled you with enough questions. What would you like to know about me?"

Wow ! This one is such classy interjection, and I'd always wonder how I could ever turn a seeming monologue into a conversation, without coming out strongly ! :-)

Thanks a million for your advice ! I really have to do some work getting out of my comfort zone, this will be the toughest challenge for me, and I'll take the advice gladly since it comes from my favourite dating coach !

sore ear said...

Haha ! No kidding, the guy who said 'I guess the man should take up charge', he really got to my nerves boiling when he said that!( It was on our 2nd phone date and the last !!!) And hell, he even dared to say, he wants an 'independent' woman ! What's wrong with that, you'd think !

Well, it's easy to assume the meaning ! But I've a good habit of not assuming things myself without asking my hearts out ! ;-)Previously I'd be shy to ask such obvious things,( though I had the question inside my head ) but not anymore ! And that way, you really know people better and faster !

So I asked him, what's his idea of an independent woman, and he said someone who can manage career and household without needing too much help from him ! ( may be he means someone who comes home from work and always fixes dinner while he watches tv)

I said,( with a neutral tone still)yeah,if she takes care of everything without much help from you, guess that'll make your life easier ! He said yes,( may be felt a little guilty to come across as too macho) and said, I might help her ( notice: might ) from time to time, but hey, usually I think men have greater responsibility in a family, men need to make decisions for the family !!!

I couldn't believe my ears !
I said, "what ??? I think even women do that !" He said no, I think men make better decisions and the man should be the one in charge of making decisions 'coz of that !

That's the last talk with him( know him through a relative with whom I lost touch lately ),I later knew he's married now !!! I feel sorry for the unlucky girl !

Well,I got diverted, the thing I wanted to share is: Did you see how my question on what 'independent' woman means to him, got him reveal his true colors eventually ? Asking questions, not assuming things myself helped me get rid of people like this very early on within as early as 3-4 dates ! Whereas, previously I used to realize things after few months( shying to ask some questions,though I had them ) !

It's better to respect red flags and that helped me stay happy single until I find the right guy, than being unhappy in a relationship !

The Singlutionary said...

I've had similar experiences with dating. A guy will seem super cool online and then I start to talk to him and its all about him. Talk talk talk. I say something and he glosses over it and gets back to what he wants to talk about. Its exhausting. And if its exhausting, its not worth it.

At the same time, it is important to try and talk once or twice but if you get shut down, its a sign that they guy is a douche-talker.

Lorraine said...

Great advice, Terry. I completely agree with your approach.

sore ear said...

singilutionary,

wow !

"I say something and he glosses over it and gets back to what he wants to talk about. Its exhausting."

Exactly same experience ! So we know how each other feel !

After sometime even if I tried hard and interjected and said a few words about myself, few guys stop/interject me and get back to his topic too, and sometimes there's no comma or fullstop for me to stop them anywhere !

It seems more like, where should I catch some space to talk, the tension, the feeling of being a mere spectator !

And yes, it's pretty exhausting ! We don't want a monologue on a date ! :-)Either way, if it's just us talking or if it's just the guy ! Not fun !

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you on this one Terry. INTERJECT (sigh)...If you have to suggest to them to ask you a question..ASK yourself if you would like to be with a man that you have to pander to in such a way for the rest of your life ? If he is just shy..would you be ok with a shy guy ? My guess is no...
You are looking for an EQUAL relationship..and you won't get one if you have to interject.