Talking hard habit to tame

By Anita Doberman: Columnist

I am a big talker. I love to speak my mind. When I get in a discussion with someone, I can go on for a while, especially if I feel strongly about an issue.

My easygoing husband, knowing me as well as he does, senses when I am about to plunge into a long conversation, and has often discouraged me from engaging, not only because he is more reserved and likes to get along with everyone, but because he is usually sitting right next to me and has no way out.

It’s not just an issue of volume, but repetition. Like a verbal boomerang, I go back to the same issues, which are not as interesting to my listeners (usually my husband) as they are to me.

It’s not that I don’t try. I usually make an effort to tame my talking self. I refrain from telling my life story to the cashier at the grocery store, or recounting how many times the baby smiled today to my hairdresser, but sometimes I can’t help it and I talk, talk, talk.

With all this talking, it’s surprising I have enough time to write anything down.

Sometimes talking is a good thing. Friends and family are entertained by outgoing Anita and they usually feel comfortable just being themselves around me. Really, they know I have probably said more embarrassing things than what they are about to reveal, and they are at ease sharing their experiences with me.

But, there is a flip side to all of this talking. My younger sister, Luisa, with whom I am very close, had a hard time getting a word in when we were growing up and always fought for attention with a rambunctious older sister. Talking a lot has also made it easier to sit around and agonize over a problem rather than take some action.

Perhaps with the end of the year approaching, I am looking at this “talking” habit of mine more closely and want to take the edge out of it by leaving more room for those close to me to do some talking. I also want to take action and move on when I don’t like something, rather than endlessly looking at the issue because at times I have used my talking as a way to delay change.

No longer — 2007 will see a more quiet Anita.

I called my sister a few hours ago and told her about my resolution.
“Lu, I am not going to talk as much anymore. I want to do a lot more listening. Do you have anything interesting or not interesting to tell me?”

She started to say something, and then I remembered.

“I have got to tell you what happened to me yesterday in the parking lot. It’s just too funny.”

And I talked.