How to Effectively Talk About Your Day
I recall watching King of Queens a lot growing up.
During the show, I noticed an interesting dynamic between the two characters, Doug & Carrie.
They were a married couple living in Queens.
Doug was a laid-back sports enthusiast.
Carrie was an ambitious woman who was always running around.
Whenever Carrie came home from work, she would tell Doug about her day.
There was a problem…
Doug was watching a sports game at the same time.
Carrie was chatting away.
Doug pretended to pay attention.
Initially, he was successful.
But as a few moments passed by, Carrie could spot Doug’s distracted eyes.
He wasn’t paying attention.
He was only pretending!
Once she quizzed him on what she just said, Doug was caught.
He failed miserably with his answers.
Who Was Wrong: Doug or Carrie?
I recall how the framing was portrayed:
‘Dufus husband cannot pay attention to his wife.’
As a kid, I believed that Doug was the bad guy.
But now that I’ve grown up, I realize that’s not the full picture.
Both were in the wrong.
‘What?? How was Carrie in the wrong? She was just talking about her day!!’
It was how she was delivering the information.
She was too detailed.
I recall she would talk about every crevice of her day.
These details made her long-winded.
Trying to pay attention to a long-winded person is difficult.
Most Humans Have a Sports Program in Their Mind
Doug wanted Carrie to shut up so he could get back to his sports game.
It’s the same thing with most humans out there.
They have a “sports game” playing in their mind.
The sports game can be:
- An imaginary conversation they were having with their crush.
- A business idea.
- A blog post idea.
Humans always have had notoriously low attention spans.
Nowadays, it’s worse.
On a day-by-day basis, there are so many content pieces vying for their attention.
In a perfect world, they should be able to give you their full attention.
In the real world though, they can only give you partial attention.
How to Properly Talk About Your Day
Most people don’t listen to your words.
They listen to your words based on their experiences.
So, if you are talking about igloos with someone…
They will find it difficult to listen if they have no clue what snow looks like.
At max, they will get a surface-level interpretation of your content.
It’s not personal when someone doesn’t pay attention.
With that being said, my advice for talking about your day is to:
- Start blurry and go specific when/if you sense interest.
Starting blurry allows you to get some stuff off your chest.
Also, your conversation partner gets an idea of what you have been up to for the day.
At certain points, your day will pique your conversation partner’s interest:
‘What is Top Golf? You mean you can just hit a golf ball without playing a full game of golf?’
Their body is interested in this piece of information.
This is when you can expand and get more detailed.
The Rare Few
If you’re an attentive fellow but your conversation partner can’t pay attention, then it must feel very annoying.
I get it.
Often, people talk about physical chemistry.
But they don’t talk about mental chemistry enough.
It’s hard to look at someone in a positive light when you’re always paying attention and they are dozing off…
Rather than resent them, feel sorry for them.
It’s a damn shame to not be able to control your mind.
With that being said, there are a rare few called the gem.
The gem is someone who wants to hear ALL the details about your day.
They don’t want you to leave any information out.
It’s very rare to find someone like this.
But when you do, then you can get detailed anytime.
Due to the lack of gems out there, I’ve seen a lot of healthy individuals go to therapy.
I knew an entrepreneur who hired a therapist.
I asked him if he was stressed.
He said not at all.
‘Then why get a therapist? I asked.
‘So someone would hear about all parts of my day.’
Strange, I thought.
Then I realized…
It physically feels good when someone makes you feel heard.
Making Someone Feel Heard
Most people get it wrong when talking about their day.
They start off too detailed despite seeing a glazed look in their conversation partner’s eyes.
They behave like this because that’s what they see on TV.
I’m pretty sure they watched Carrie trying to talk to Doug and came away with the conclusion that Doug was a dufus.
Doug may have been a dufus, sure.
But Carrie was also a dufus for being so detailed despite sensing boredom.
Maybe Carrie was so detailed with Doug because she liked it when Doug was detailed with her.
We’ll never know.
It’s annoying to be the only one listening and not being listened to.
It’s easy to stop listening to them as a form of protest.
However, my fix for this has always been to view the other person as ignorant.
They don’t know any better.
And if I can exercise my listening skills (despite not wanting to) then I will win.
Being a great listener, even with boring people, is a life skill.
Improving your Speaking by Improving your Listening
When most people are talking about their day, it’s 85% filler with 15% relevance.
At first, everything seems like filler.
But the more you practice listening, the easier it is to spot the 15% relevance.
Once you are capable of spotting the 15% relevance from others, then it becomes easier to polish your speaking skills.
It’s easier to develop a feel for what people want to hear from your day and what will bore them.
Improve your speaking skills by improving your listening skills.
The 2 complement each other.