Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meta-Talking: Talking About Talking

The title says nearly all. I have long been aware that in a lot of my writing, I “think about thinking,” meaning that I not only discuss the content of thoughts I have, but the thought process itself, the better to introspect and analyze whether my reasoning is correct and appropriate. It helps me ensure to myself, or prove to others, that my conclusions and observations are truthful and beneficial. It’s also fascinating to peek under the hood and go beyond ideas into investigating the “why” behind those ideas. But until very recently, I didn’t consciously catch myself in the act of ‘talking about talking,’ while having a face to face conversation with someone else.

It took a casual conversation wherein which I was flirting occasionally with a young woman I ran into at the gym, for me to notice that I wasn’t merely talking to her, I was talking about how I talk, with her. And acknowledged it in the conversation. “Going out of the plane of conversation” is a fun thing to do, because it’s so unusual. It generally garners amused interest in the other person, from what I can tell. See, in an act of meta-talking, I tend to ask if I’m talking up too much time (not a typo), if they’d like to leave but are too polite to tell me, or if they’re actually interested. It’s socially incorrect. I love it. It’s one of the things that make me a bit unique. I might not have a musical talent or be a world-class athlete or have a modelesque appearance, but I’ve got a peculiar mind. What better thing to be the most “out-there” when I meet and get to know someone, since of all the aspects of my person, my mind is the most accurate definition you can point to to say, “this is who I am?” I have a deep desire to be known and understood by my wife. I’m thrilled to pieces to realize that the personality I’ve developed through the way I think and talk has made my uncharacteristically eccentric thoughts so prominent and inescapable, that I’m guaranteed to only one day wed the woman who can tolerate this social weirdness and interact with me on the same level. All others will be made uncomfortable, overwhelmed by the intensity, unable to understand what I’m saying, or just plain uninterested, for any of these reasons or just that it turns them off personally. What a great way to avoid getting involved with the wrong people.

I’m meta-talking right now.

There’s a quote I can’t remember the middle of, which goes something like this: “boring people talk about other people. Interesting people talk about ___ (events?). And inspiring people talk about ideas.” I make use of small talk about random trivia I might have on my mind, in beginning a conversation with a stranger or acquaintance, but I can’t sustain a conversation based only on that. I quickly move beyond the base facts and bring up theories, educating my listener with concepts they may not have heard of before, or heard explained in just the way I am then doing. I’d like to think that by lifting up their own consciousness out of the realm of people and things, into the realm of big ideas and the connections between the things we see, that I’m adding something to their experience instead of just taking up their time. I hope that I can give every person who listens to me something to think about, that will be beneficial to them. I don’t want to open my mouth otherwise, if I can’t do that. And I am hopeful, because testimonials from people I’ve had long conversations with tend to support the belief that I “really have something here” with how I talk, and talk about talking.

The young lady (who happened to be 2 years older than I) was engrossed enough in the conversation that I kept her interest for 2 long hours, the realization of which made me nostalgic regarding memories of college. She felt compelled to tell me that she was in a relationship (This is a little-known benefit of talking people’s ears off. It gives you plenty of time to learn enough about a person without having to risk embarrassing yourself by approaching them with the sole intent of acquiring their phone number—if they’re available, then by getting to know them first, you’ve got a better chance of being given it, since you’re not just a stranger with no personality). Nevertheless, she gave me the uplifting compliment that “you’ve got the right approach; keep on truckin’.
And so I shall.

~ Rak Chazak

PS I found the original text. Here's that:

In thinking about it, I think one of my keys to conversational/flirtational success is ‘meta-talking.’ My flirting isn’t so overt as to declare my interest to her straightaway. It’s more in the fact that I chose to talk to her, and the subjects of discussion chosen (mixed in with the random tidbits, naturally my philosophy on love and romance). However, I’ve learned how to be direct without being awkwardly forward, letting the girl be comfortable while still flattered (and having the fine effect of making her thoughts race as to what’s really going on). Meta-talking in a flirting context can be summed up in an example, “guys are dumb jerks, except me, so find me interesting” or “women in general are lovely in such and such and such a way that it is obvious you are, so feel complimented.” You can also use second person pronouns while talking about good things you like about women, to make it feel like you’re talking directly to her but without being too obvious so you can’t be shut down. :]

Notice the use of narrative construction (telling her what to think), and distancing yourself from the negative aspects of what you’re addressing, while simultaneously benefiting from the sensual eye contact even while you pretend it’s not real, while letting her indulge.

“I find that most girls don’t really appreciate a pickup-line approach mentality in guys: you know what you want, and it’s a deeper interaction than just the sensual. For that reason, I get to know a girl first, I don’t walk up and ask for a date point-blank. Now, it might feel good to hear me say,”
*pause, look confidently and endearingly into her eyes, and change your voice*
“My eyes have not lain hold of a beauty such as yours in all my life. Your eyes are a dreamy ocean of wonders, and your smile outshines the moon. Love me, and I will be yours forever.”
Now, that might be what I think about you, but without knowing anything about me, it could come off very cheesy. Having a background of friendship makes my words mean far more to you.”

And continue, letting her digest it. :)

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