Time to write: 1h36 | Created: 2022-02-10 | Updated: 2022-02-11
My natural inclination is to talk a lot — hours, non-stop, at least with the right people. I’m addicted — pathologically talking too much (I suspect our genetic predisposition to enjoying talking is too strong — maladapted, and misaligned, to our current environment). Also, the opportunity cost of my time is often not as salient as I wished it was, and so I have an illusion of abundance because my immediate needs are satisfied (see video below) (again, I think this is caused by a maladaptation to our current environment). And even when I do want to exit a conversation, my natural inclination is also to have a hard time to do so.
But I don’t want this. I mostly want to talk when it serves an instrumental purpose worth prioritizing or when I don’t have the energy to work* (historically, there has been a lot of periods when that happens each day, so that can still be regular). With people I’m close with, I also value sharing more about our internal experience (more on this below).
*by work, I mean “invest in the future” as opposed to “consuming”, which is a loser definition than most people use
I’ve learned various ways to contain myself, sometimes very successfully, but I still often benefit from people around me supporting me in that goal.
My tendency is to become more rigid/strict(/direct) with my time as I (chronologically?) age. I think my general tendency is also to become more rigid/strict(/direct) with my time after spending a lot of time with someone; I think part of it is valuing freeform conversations as a way to get to know someone and part of it is getting comfortable sharing those desires (although with some people I rapidly feel comfortable doing so); but it’s probably more complex than that, and varies with multiple variables.
I track my time almost 24h/7, and sometimes put timers in discussions which are collaboratively decided on (the goal being to be intentional about our time). I would also like if the default was to more often share the time things take us. There are people with whom I know the exact amount of hours I’ve spent with in my life, although online chatting makes this harder to track as it’s prone to multitasking.
However, when someone is having an emotional conversation, I think it can be important to not put a timer on it because 1) it can be a more important discussion, and 2) it can be pretty costly, emotionally, to break up the discussion in multiple instances.
In my life, there are a few people I felt very close to, and, as I recall, I felt like I wanted to spend all my time with them — although that wasn’t verified experimentally to the fullest extent; probably partly because the other person wanted a bit less (despite still wanting a lot). I am / can be the crazy girlfriend meme, except I’m not really jealous or demanding (in that way) — it’s never been a big preference; I absolutely still thrive by my own! When shown a boundary, I’ll sometimes take 5 steps back from it, and not come back unless invited to.
But the way I’d spent time with a close friend in this context has mostly been not talking and independently doing our things, possibly in a container of doing promodoros / focusmates, and sometimes sharing some activities (eating, exercise), projects, anecdotes / emotional support, plans / retros, cuddling, and brain debugging / feedback / rubber ducking — which can still be a lot / filling (and so, maybe I should have frame this full post differently).
I still care about the social needs of close ones, and if/when I can’t meet them myself but they can be met in other ways, if/when that’s welcomed/wanted/helpful, I tend try to support finding other connections/approaches for that.