Circular Conversation

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

 

A- I’m going now. Are you coming?

B- No, I don’t feel like it. I’ve got a lot of things to do

A- Ok, no problem. Bye

B- (pausing for thought) Well, I can come if you want

A- No, that’s fine

B- So you don’t want me to come? I’ll stay then

A- Come if you want, it’ll be nice.

B- Well, if you really want me to i will

A- It’s up to you. I know you’ve got things to do.

B- Yes, I have. I think I’ll stay if you don’t mind

A- I understand. I’ll be ok on my own

B- Are you sure?

A- Yes, it’s ok

B- Maybe I should come. You might get bored on your own.

A- (sternly) I think I can make that decision for myself. I’ll be fine.

B- Hmm, you seem a bit angry that I’m not coming.

A- (exasperated) No, that’s not it

B- Final decision. I’m coming!

A- Ok great, let’s go

B- Ok

B- (moment of thought) Can I just finish what I was doing?

A- How long will you be?

B- I don’t know, it depends how long it takes

A- Well, I’d like to get going really

B- Ok, I’d better stay then

A- (tersely) Bye then

B- (feeling guilty) Go on then, I’ll come. I’ll bring my work with me

A- On second thoughts, STAY!

(both feel disgruntled)

 

Of course the shorter version, which saves breath, time and feelings, is:

 

A- I’m going now. Are you coming?

B- No, I don’t feel like it. I’ve got a lot of things to do

A- Ok, no problem. Bye

 

You could perhaps generalise and say that the longer conversation is the British version and the shorter one the American version. I think excessive politeness and assumptions about another’s feelings tend to waste time and cause unnecessary aggravation. Directness, once it is established, is the path to truth and action

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