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How to Have a Good Conversation

“我的天 有人被困在房间里了?”
“Oh Boys… is it a guy trapped in a room?”
“对啊 就是这样 那人扭伤了 一直在等待救援”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah… basically. It has a twist– just wait for the end of it.”
It can be painfully rare to end up in a satisfying conversation.
一直以来 我们都在谈话和聆听
A lot of the time, we talk and we listen,
但是说真的 亲密关系离我们还尚远
but sincere, deep connection eludes us.
“油 酵母 还有平底锅……每次做出来都不同 有时更健康有时则不那么……
“Oil, the yeast and pan… it reacts differentlyand some more healthy or less
I would like grape seed oil actually
真的 我特喜欢它 我觉得它非常……”
really… I like that. I mean it’s very…”
We shouldn’t blame ourselves for the difficulties we face in conversations.
毕竟 没人专门教过我们如何聊天
After all, no one ever particularly taught us how to have a conversation
though it might have helped.
“这 呃 这不是轨道型 对吧?这是另一种 但我意思是[语无伦次]
“This is the, um, well it’s not the orbital, is it? It’s the other one.But I mean, [incoherent]
人们努力工作 努力学习 我觉得 这 这也太傻逼了”
Well, there’s people trying to get to work, people trying to get to school, I mean, it’s so– it’s just so stupid.”
太多时候 当我们见面交流时
Too often, when we meet and talk,
we stay on the surface of events.
我们说出发生的事情 我们去了哪 看到了谁
We say what happened, where we went, who we saw,
而不是我们觉得如何 或者是对我们意味着什么
not how we felt, or what it meant to us.
We talk about facts, not feelings,
which are the only conduits to real connection.
“这才是问题所在 比如你在火车站台
“… thing– that’s the issue. It’s like when you’re on that platform
you see there’s Royston, Natural Garden City at Welwyn Garden City.
And that’s the thing– a lot of people are there on that platform
and they don’t know that they could change to Alexandra Palace…”
又或者 我们总是强调而不是阐述自己的感受
Or else, we insist rather than explain feelings,
thereby failing to get them into other people’s minds.
“……简直太神奇了 我还是觉得 到现在还在想着
“… like so amazing. I still got like– even thinking of it now,
这简直 啊啊啊 你懂的……
it’s just like… UHHH! Uh… you know the…
呃 你知道的 当你觉得像是……我的天啊太厉害了 哇噢 太棒了”
yeah, you know when you’re kind of… oh, God it was great. Oh, so good.”
通常情况下 我们尽力避免咆哮和强烈的情绪
Typically, we skirt the roar and intense emotions
and head for safe, but bland, adminstrative chat.
“我过去吃肉……然后 我和杰克分手 我变成了素食主义者
“I used to eat meat… and then, obviously when me and Jack broke up and I became vegetarian.
I’ve found just absolutely the most amazing recipe book.
它简直——我不知道你们看过它没有 它就像是——
It’s literally– I don’t know if you’ve seen it and it’s got like
— you can replace… sort of the dish that you would have with meat and..”
否则 我们基本上没法进行正常对话
Or else, we simply can’t keep a conversation on track.
我们反复无常 可以说是东拉西扯 离题万里 直到话题主线无影无踪
We repeatedly as it were open new windows, digressing until the thread is lost.
“因此我想——我事实上想要这周末 嗯……和我的朋友们去打牌
“So I was thinking– I was actually thinking of playing poker this weekend with uh… you know, my mates,
但是我没再打过了 因为去年我输了很多钱 而且我也知道 现在有这么多东西可以读……
but I don’t play anymore because I lost a bit of money last year, and I know. There’s just so much to read now…
你懂我意思吗?我现在对读书更感兴趣 其余的话……下周我要去滑雪 所以……
you know what I mean? I’m more interested in reading, if anything… I am going skiing next week, so…
呃 这不是那种适合读书的地方 但……”
I don’t know, it’s not the kind of place you might read but…”
The good news is that we can learn to shape others’ conversations
rather than just receive them passively.
In a dialogue, there are always what one might turn, “conversational crossroads,”
with paths that lead either to greater intimacy,
or else towards ongoing superficiality.
Here is one conversational crossroads:
“我打算下周邀请一些朋友过来 从上大学起我就没见过他们了”
“I’m inviting some friends over next week who I haven’t seen since uni.”
这时 你可以选择两种方案中的一个 肤浅方向的:
At this point, you could go in one of two ways. A surface way:
—“哇噢 酷 你考上了哪所大学?”—“曼彻斯特大学”
“Oh cool, what university did you go to?” “Manchester.”
“噢 是吗 那真的很有趣 曼彻斯特 我姐姐之前也在那儿 你学的是什么?”
“Oh, yeah, it’s really fun. Manchester, yeah. My sister went there. What did you study?”
—“商务”—“那 那你第二专业学什么?”
“Business.” “What– what did you do in the second half for?”
— “呃 我最后学了项目管理 ”— “我学的是法语 ”
“Well, I ended up in Events Management, but yeah.” “I did French.”
或者 你可以把话题引到更为感性的方向:
Or, you could steer things down a more emotional path:
“我下星期打算邀请一些朋友 从大学起就没见过他们了”
“I’m inviting some friends over next week who I haven’t seen since uni.”
—“天啊 那大概有10还是12年没见了?”—“是啊 上一次见面是拿到毕业证书的时候”
“Oh my God, it’s like about 10, 12 years?” “Yeah, that’s when I fini– got my degree, yeah.
“所以 你觉得 你们都完全大变样了……我意思是 你已经变了”
“So, you mean, you’ve all completely changed… I mean, you’ve changed.”
“对啊 我想是的 我还真没有认真想过这个事”
“Yeah, I guess I have, yeah. I suppose so. Haven’t really thought about it that much.”
“那你会怎么想或怎么说——我的意思是 如果你现在能看到当时的你”
“What would you think or say– I mean, if you could see you then now?”
Good listeners are like good editors: trimming away what’s superfluous,
trying gently to get the speaker to focus on what’s really at stake.
“我妈妈去世之后 你可以想象 我承担了很大的压力
“And after my mum died, as you can probably guess, it was quite a bit of stress,
更糟的是我那时最爱的足球队——曼联 败迹连连”
Well it no help but the fact that my favorite football team at the time,Manchester United, was going through a losing streak–“
“所以你是说 呃 你的父母离婚了
“So, but you were saying that, um, that your parents got divorced,
and then literally three months later you mom passed away?”
“是的 一切都……都发生的很快”
“Yes. It was all quite… quite quick.”
—“这样啊”—“嗯 是的 我有个朋友 额 叫戴夫 呃 也可以叫大卫
“Yeah.” “Um, but yeah. I’ve got a friend– uh, Dave, um, or David,
他工作时叫大卫 因为明显叫戴夫不太正式”
As he’s called at work, because obviously that’s a bit informal–“
“抱歉 但你刚刚说的是——仿佛一切都发生得很快
“Sorry, but you were saying like it just– like it all happened really quickly and
就好像你妈妈去医院前都不知道她自己病了 还是……”
like when your mum went to hospital she didn’t know she was ill before or…”
在交谈中 另一件让人觉得出乎意料的事情是
The other great surprise about conversations
is how much we like it when people show vulnerability.
We always think that what we need to do to get other people to like us
is to show how well things are going for us
令人惊讶的是 这样做其实并不是很讨人喜欢
Surprisingly, that’s actually not very appealing.
“这份工作薪酬很高 呃…… 就住房条件来说相当不错 你懂的 我现在能承担起
“It’s so well paid, um… and which is great in terms of, you know, now I can afford, you know, to live in
住在坎特伯雷这样繁华的地方 我超爱我的公寓 嗯…… 这真的很正能量”
Canterbury which is gorgeous and I love my flat, um… so yeah, it’s been really, really positive, actually.”
It’s not that we want others to fail,
we just need to know that all room sorrows have echos in the lifes of others.
That’s what connects us.
Strength may be impressive,
but it’s vulnerability that builds friendships.
“是的 我自那以后每日思念她……这真让人抓狂 因为 我现在已经成年了……
“Yes, I guess I’ve… missed her every day since then… which is mad because, you know, I’m a grown man now…
有靠谱工作 有温馨家庭 有我自己的家 但归根结底 我还是很想我妈妈”
got a responsible job, got a family, got my own home, but when it comes down to it… I just miss my mum.”
令人心酸的是 我们这么努力聚到一起
It’s so poignant that we make so much effort to come together,
but often don’t manage to connect.
The good news is, we can learn how to.
我们所渴望的关系 正有待我们
The connections we long for are just waiting for us
去采取正确行动 来维护好它们
to make the right moves, to secure them.
我们坚信 我们能让世界上的人们在感情问题上更加睿智
We believe in making the world a more emotionally intelligent place,
为此 我们已经出版了一批优质的专门书籍
and to that end, we’ve now also published some extraordinary books,
as well as other merchandise that reinforces some of the themes illustrated in our videos.
Please click on the link below to see more.