It’s good to natter, better to listen

Aasma Day, Lancashire Evening Post Health Correspondent
Aasma Day, Lancashire Evening Post Health Correspondent
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Chatterbox Aasma is also all ears and ready to embrace silence.

It’s not often I’m lost for words.

Talking is a wonderful thing and I make sure I never waste my vocal abilities – but not in a singing way (for those of you who have heard me at karaoke, you’ll know why).

My desire to recount anecdotes from my day and funny tales with plenty of detail and colour often has Hubby shaking his head with fond exasperation after he patiently listens to me finally reach the punchline or crux of my story.

“Is that it?” he asks incredulously after 10 minutes.

“I could have said all that in three sentences.”

Ah, but what Hubby – who is after all a man – doesn’t appreciate is that the beauty of a story is in the blow-by-blow detail, the nitty-gritty and the finer points.

This becomes apparent when Hubby tells a yarn of his own and is constantly interrupted by me wanting more flesh on the bones of the story.

“What was she wearing?” I ask impatiently. “What was his reaction to that?” or “What did she say before that and what was the expression on her face?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a gossip. I might like to know what’s going on… it’s my profession to be a nosy parker don’t you know… but when I do get told a story, I want everything, chapter and verse as there’s nothing worse than a half-baked tale.

When it comes to keeping schtum about the confidences friends make to me, I am brilliant and am a keeper of more secrets than a teenager’s diary.

At the risk of generalising and sounding a tad sexist, women do tend to be far better at the talking – in a good way I mean.

When one of my sisters or friends calls me up on the telephone for a natter, I immediately make myself comfortable by curling up on the sofa knowing I’m not going to be going anywhere for at least an hour.

Even a quick call a friend to make arrangements to meet up usually results in a 20 minute chat as we have a mini catch-up before the mighty one when we’re face-to-face.

Men are so different as I first realised in the days before texting when I heard Hubby make a telephone call to one of his friends to arrange to meet up before a Preston North End match.

“Hiya. Yes, I’ll see you in the pub at 1pm. Yes, great that. See ya. Bye.”

11 seconds. The duration of the call. Unbelievable.

I often wonder that if we took football and sport out of the equation, what WOULD the male of the species talk to each other about?

Is it any wonder they never remember friend’s children’s names – or even the names of their other halves come to that – or where they’ve been on holiday or what they do for a living.

While us women usually know everything from our friends’ shoes sizes to how they like their coffee and with how many sugars (an amazing memory usually seems to go hand-in-hand with verbal diarrhoea).

Hubby has a word for what I do and says I am even worse when I’ve partaken in a beverage or two. He says I start: “Twittering”.

Somehow, I don’t think he’s being complimentary about my use of the social networking tool.

But while I like a chinwag, I also know the importance of when not to talk and am actually a good listener and take in everything someone tells me instead of switching off after a few minutes.

I love listening as much as I love talking and believe it or not, there are people out there who think I am “quiet” as I am more than willing to let them do the talking while I soak up their stories.

Let’s face it, I wouldn’t make a very good reporter if I spent all my time talking instead of listening. The art is to talk enough to get people talking and then sit back and listen as they chat to you,

Despite my love of talking, I know when to keep it zipped. And last week’s two minute silence on Armistice Day was one such occasion.

Whatever your views on war and those who fought on them, I think there is nothing ruder than those who deliberately talk during a silence meant to be used to remember people.

And when everyone else is silent, but one person is yakking away, everyone else winces as the usually oblivious person carrying on talking.

A few years ago at work, we all experienced a such cringeworthy moment when we heard someone with an extremely loud voice booming all the way through the silence totally unaware why everyone around him was so quiet.

Thankfully, there was no such mishaps during this year’s silence – but hearing the unanswered phones ringing all the way through the two minutes made me wonder: “Who actually decides to call someone during the silence?”

There is so much publicity and awareness of Armistice Day that there is no excuse for not knowing about it.

We all have busy lives and lots to do. But if you can’t hold your tongue for two minutes, you’ve got problems.