Do You See What I’m Saying??!

There’s someone in my life who uses “Do you see what I’m saying” as a bit of a verbal tic. She’ll say it three or four times in any given conversation, not just with me, but with lots of people (I overhear a lot of her conversations, in addition to the conversations in which I’m an active participant.) We all have verbal tics— I tend to “touch base” a little too often, among other annoyingly frequently uttered phrases.

She finds me especially frustrating to talk to, as far as I can tell, and so I might hear it slightly more often than the average person. We generally cover any topic about three times before she either gives up or gets it enough for me to move on from the conversation.

The thing that kills me about this is that she’s constantly interrupting me when I’m trying to answer her questions. I’m partway through answering the question and she’ll say I know, and ask it again, even though I didn’t misunderstand it. I answer the question, and she’ll repeat the question several times, because she doesn’t like my answer. I’d take it as a personal failing in my own clear communication, except I’ve heard her do it to others— ask a question, get an answer, refuse to acknowledge the answer, then ask it again.

I think it’s a struggle for significance “no, you’re missing the urgency of what I’m saying,” even if my answer is “respectfully, you’re overestimating the urgency of what you’re seeing.” I don’t know if it’s that I’m calm under pressure (being unflappable turns out to be a mixed blessing around people who freak out at above-average rates) or there’s another element at work, but at a certain point, I’m afraid I’m going to say “stop interrupting me to ask if I see what you’re saying and listen to what I’m saying, or don’t ask.” Which is not likely to improve our relationship.

St. Francis said “O Master, grant that I may never seek… to be understood as to understand.” Maybe that should be my prayer.

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