The problem: I was talking with a friend about a long awaited vacation I took recently. Before I could tell her anything about it, she blurted out, “Oh, I’ve been there, too!” and proceeded to tell me all about her trip. This also has happened with restaurants where, if I mention one I’ve been to, people jump in with their own opinions of the place and don’t even ask me what I think. Am I wrong to hate all this one-upping?
Low road: Oh, seriously, that is nothing compared with what my friends do to me when I try to talk about my dog’s adorableness and they think their dogs are even more adorable when they — oh, wait. Sorry.
High road: You’re annoyed because you’ve been hijacked or, more accurately, your conversation has been. You thought that it was going to go one way — the way where you get to relive happy memories from a great trip with an enthusiastic listener. Instead, you’re forced into the role of enthusiastic listener. We’re all guilty of doing this at times.
Part of our eagerness to leap in stems from a well-intentioned desire to connect on a similar experience. The best communicators, though, pause to give others room to continue or, better, ask questions about trip highlights or the tastiest menu item. Only after a decent interval do they offer that these stories bring back many happy parallel stories.
The good news is that Mr. and Ms. Hijacker, as self-absorbed as they may be, cannot co-opt your memories or your warm feelings. If you still need affirmation, or the ability to debrief without interruption, post your favorite photos on social media and start counting the likes.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad.