The Data Dump
Have you ever been data dumped? No, not a system data dump, but rather a data dump of a very different kind. The conversation data dump!
Well, I have on many an occasion and it’s not pretty folks.
Technically speaking, a data dump is, “a large amount of data transferred from one system or location to another”. And no, I’m talking about Data taking a dump! Using this analogy is a perfect fit when it comes to conversations. I’m talking about the type of conversations that are strictly directed one way. You know, the ones where you hardly say anything and the other person does all the talking. And sometimes, they can seem endless. Unfortunately, I’ve had my share of them and it’s my fault for allowing them to happen.
I’m the type of person that is simply too polite to say anything or interrupt the conversational flow. There have been times when I’ve tried to interject a personal point of view into them only to fail miserably. It’s then I get completely disheartened and give up. Now, I understand when a person has a lot to share, and they data-dump all over you. That’s fine – but when the dump is over and they are still going on and on – that’s where I have the issue. I data dump too, but when I’m done and come up for air, I realize the other person’s not engaged and prompt them with questions about their day, or ask what’s new – anything to get them involved in the conversation.
By nature, conversations are supposed to be two-way. A symbiotic flow of thoughts and emotions. It’s especially disheartening when it’s constant and almost seems purposeful. Being a good listener is a great skill for sure, but learning how to be a skilled “engager” is equally as important.
With the advent of social media, this seems to be even more prevalent. Facebook is the perfect example of this, but that’s OK and is expected. We expect folks to focus on their lives, images, meals, vacations, etc. but when you are actively engaged in a conversation it’s the last thing you expect. You can’t really call it a conversation if someone is data bombing you!
There were times that seemed surreal and even embarrassing when you interject a personal comment into the conversation and it’s completely ignored as if you weren’t there! Now, what is up with that? Can someone be so myopic they could glaze completely over a personal statement as if it slipped off into the cold dead of night? Talk about being self-absorbed!
The way I figured it is you can handle these data dumps in one of two ways – you can choose to continue to be ignored and lifelessly stand there absorbing the data and pray it ends soon, or you can politely excuse yourself from the conversation. As bleak as these two choices are, they seem to be the only way to handle them. As I stated, trying to actively engage in the conversation is fruitless so you are wasting your time trying.
One thing is for sure – I head for the hills when I can foresee a data dump heading my way. Let’s face it – sometimes talking to yourself is the best conversation you are going to have. And if you get caught up in one, play some pretty music in your head because it’s going to be a long ride!