Do you know one of those people who has the annoying habit of repeating themselves? I don’t mean that friend who tells you the same story every other time you see him. I mean the guy who says the same thing three times in the span of 5 minutes. And, for good measure, probably reiterates this two more times before you are done talking. How do you deal with that? Do you avoid that person? Do you cut them off and say “Hey I heard you the first four times you said that?” How do you avoid doing a slash and burn on the relationship?
So, now I have a confession to make. I am that guy. Yep, I did not even realize that I was doing it until about 8 years ago. I had a few people tell me –THANK YOU – that I was losing people in conversation. I don’t mean that I would literally say the same thing repeatedly, but I would deliver the same message repeatedly in short conversations. Boy, talk about a way to get people to mentally check out. This tactic will unfortunately work every time.
You know I owe a lot to the three people who told me I was doing this. Fortunately for me I had already learned the lesson about shooting the messenger and I was able to gratefully acknowledge this and thank my friends for pointing it out. I also asked them to please help me change this incredibly annoying habit. I gave them permission to point it out, in a kind way, when I would fall back into this pattern. In the beginning, I would have good days and not so good days.
Truth is I catch myself all the time. I still do it. I usually recognize it somewhere around the third offense. There is an expression, and it seems true. “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” I sometimes like to add “Unless it hits a root and takes a good long roll.” In this instance, no roots in sight and I had decades to root my repeat tree. To all of you that have ever had to sit under the shade of my Repeat Tree, forgive me, please.
Today I hope that the it is a shadow of the mighty shade tree that it once was. It has been pruned over the years, and like a healthy tree, pruning supports new growth. Recently it seems that the Repeat Tree has had some of its old growth bloom. The times today are stressful. One thing that I learned years ago was that while we have the capacity to change, to choose to behave differently, it is hard to eradicate behavior. Stress causes us to relapse. The key is to identify that relapse and take corrective action.
However, much like my father, a wonderful man, that I strive to emulate in most ways, save this one, I can’t help but fall into “lecture” mode when I don’t like what is going on. My wife and daughter will whole heartedly tell you that the Repeat Tree needs pruning. You know what? It does. I am thankful that there are people in my life that will give me this feedback. You know they love you and they care.
So what could you do? If you could?