Seniors: Am I Repeating Myself?

Apr 4th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

If you spend much time with some elders you may note a tendency for frequent repetition.  They tell the same story, elaborate on the same experience over and over.  Often, they fail to inquire if they have told you this story previously.  If they ask, I am usually quick to remind them they have, so we can move on to other conversational enjoyment.  The problem is that the repeater frequently falls back into the same trap of reaching for a tale already told. 

There may be some helpful ways in dealing with such a situation, but to do so risks creating a schism between you and the other.  Without being impolite, you may interrupt the story he/she is telling with something like, “oh, yes, now I remember you did tell about that.”  Perhaps the nudge will help.  If the frequency of repetition is such, it becomes something of a challenge to find ways to circumvent the subject at hand.  Your repeating that your conversation mate is repeating may itself become a laborious and uncomfortable situation.  Checking with other friends or family who have experienced the repetition game may give clues as to how they have handled the situation.

Of course, depending on the size of the conversational circle, encouraging others to join in will mean that the repeater will have less opportunity to tell us yet again his story or stories.  You don’t want to hurt the poor soul.  You just want to have a pleasant exchange which does not detour into old stories which have  outlived their usefulness.  Of course, if the repeater asks if he has told the story before, noone remembers, and he proceeds, then all is perfectly okay.  However, if there is a chorus of “yes, we have heard it,” and he proceeds anyway, it might be time for excusing oneself from the circle.  It is true that it takes a lot for some people to get the hint. 

For fear that I am repeating myself, I think I will sign off now.  But, did I tell you the one about…?



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