Let me be the first to site my conversational faults. I struggle with not interrupting, especially when I am excited or passionate about a topic. I also get stuck inside myself in thought. My conversational skills took a dive when I was home for many years with my beautiful son, who doesn’t speak. I talked to him incessantly, and to anyone who came into my world during that time…his therapists, my husband, visiting friends…I was so desperate for adult conversation but so out of practice that I often co-opted every dialogue.

I’ve since regained some of the skills but I do still struggle, both with my own faults and with others. Good conversation is truly an art and I have the utmost respect for those who bear the talent and skill to be successful conversationalists.

A successful conversationalist is someone who is who well versed on the topic and who listens as well as they speak. The gift of gab also includes the ability to put others at ease, and to transition from topic to topic. Another key to being successful in conversation is the ability not to be repetitive in your story telling.

I feel like there is a form of disrespect in someone sharing the same story with you multiple times because it says that they weren’t really paying attention to the previous conversation(s). This skill is something that’s only recently become a pet peeve of mine, and I struggle to smile my way through third and fourth telling. I’m forgiving of a second telling, but impatient and uninterested in the third and beyond. I know I’m guilty of this faux pas on occasion but I’m aware of it and strive to make efforts not to perpetuate the behavior (as I do with my interruption problem).

My curiosity is whether there’s a kind, polite way of indicating to someone that this story has been shared with you many times without shaming or embarrassing someone? My interest is not to hurt someone’s feelings but to move a conversation forward. I suspect etiquette would dictate that you simply grin and bear it and then tactfully change the subject when it’s appropriate…

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