Enough, Already! Talk About Something Else

Mar 10th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

In recent days, our column focused on issues of death and dying.  While an important and essential issue to review, it does not have to dominate a senior’s attention or  focus.  As we have pointed out, it is important to deal with and make decisions regarding both issues, it does not have to be a topic for daily discussion.

So, let’s move on.  One of the important lessons in aging is not to put too much emphasis on subjects of health, disability, aches, pains and having a four page answer to the question, every time you are asked it, of “how are you?” 

Health is important to seniors.  Wellness is as well.  But dwelling on aches and pains and unusual bodily phenomenon does not offer pleasant opportunity for interaction and conversation.  Likely, when too much attention  and time is spent on such topics, the talker will find an absence of listeners. 

Keeping abreast of a variety of conversational topics will get you further in having friends, enjoying interaction and having persons seek you out.  Some people, however, take literally the polite question, “How are you?”  They do not mean to spend an exorbitant amount of time listening to the rehearsal of the multitude of bodily impediments which may be yours. 

Having been a pastor, I learned a long time ago that persons will find ways to recite their hurts and pains without a lot of provocation.   While it may seem helpful to the talker, it is ultimately not a productive way to deal with health issues.  For the most part, the individual who shares his/her maladies just needs someone to talk to.  Loneliness is more likely the issue and loneliness, like most aches, needs a cure.

In such moments, the individual who is chronic in sharing the “pains”, may need to be directed to some self- help group, an organization which appeals to a particular interest, or seek out friend(s) who can help the person overcome the need to be so self-centered.

Of course, pains can be real and there may be a genuine need for the particular complaint to be addressed. The listener can be the vehicle by which the talker is transported,  perhaps even literally, to some kind of professional assistance to address the problem at hand.  True friends will listen.  But true friends with physical or medical issues need not “use” their friends beyond what is appropriate and reasonable.

So, when caught in the trap of the listener, find an appropriate and polite way to extricate  yourself.  If you are the talker, recognize what you are doing and “talk about something else.”

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