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Thread: My girlfriend is terrible at conversing and it's bothering me

  1. #1
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    My girlfriend is terrible at conversing and it's bothering me

    So my girlfriend and I have been dating for about a year and 3 months, I'm 28 she's 26. Everything is going great, but there is one big thing that is really starting to weigh on me... She is terrible at conversing with people but thinks she is great at it. Personally, I think she suffers from anxiety and she has mentioned that she thinks she does as well so this could all be a byproduct of that, but I am looking for advice on how to deal with it and if anyone thinks this can change.



    Now I am not trying to claim that I am some master conversationalist, but I can keep one going if need be. My girlfriend on the other hand has some very weird "go to's" that kill many potential conversations and I can see the frustration in the other person (or maybe it's just my own frustration). The first is that she always brings every conversation back to her parents. For example, last night we went to my cousin's house because his girlfriend was in town. His girlfriend only drinks wine, so my cousin decided he would get her a bottle from a local winery and she really didn't like it (we live in a part of the country that isn't at all known for wine). So my girlfriend asked my cousin what kind she likes/where from. My cousin says she really likes stuff from Sonoma Valley. My girlfriend's immediate response is, "Oh yeah my parents went to Sonoma Valley and loved it". Now this may not seem all that bad, but she does this in 95% of all conversations, and it always happens within the first five exchanges. Another example from last night, my other cousin and wife brought their puppy over, and any time the puppy would do something that started a conversation about dogs, my girlfriend would always start talking about her parents dog. It is damn near every topic, if cabins are brought up she starts talking about her parent's cabin. The reason it bothers me so much is that the conversation isn't about her parents. The other person is left in a weird spot of deciding if they should continue the original conversation, or should they begin asking about her parents. This leads to the other part that bothers me, she never seems to really take interest in what the other person is talking about. IMO a huge part of conversing is asking questions, even if you have no interest in what the other person is saying. At the very least don't give the impression that the person is boring you, or your topic is a more worthwhile one.



    I have a feeling that all of this stems from her home life growing up. It wasn't difficult in the typical sense. Her parents are married, successful, and are genuinely nice people. However, I think they have instilled this need for perfection in her that she can't seem to let go of. Her dad has a PhD and is a scientist at a Fortune 500, and they refer to her Mom as "Queen" (It's technically a joke, which I understand, but it has gotten to a point where I think they truly believe it). IMO, she doesn't ask questions because she doesn't want to sound dumb, so she always circles back to her parents because she is only comfortable talking about things she knows about.

    I really don't know what to do about this, but if it doesn't change I can see it ruining our relationship.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Some people are like this. They redirect and drone on about themselves or their jobs, kids, family cars health issues....you name it. Not much you can do to control what people talk about. Is she rude or just boring everyone?

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    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    This is fundamentally who she is and you arent going to change it.
    People makes changes when they have an insight and desire to do so.
    This is something that bothers you.
    Her communication style has everything to do with her temperament and personality.
    You either accept her as she is or move on.

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    Originally Posted by Gibraltar
    IMO, she doesn't ask questions because she doesn't want to sound dumb, so she always circles back to her parents because she is only comfortable talking about things she knows about.

    I really don't know what to do about this, but if it doesn't change I can see it ruining our relationship.
    Well, yes, exactly.

    Did she have much of a life outside her parents growing up? It sounds like she doesn't have a wider frame of reference, so she naturally relates points of conversation back to them. People who have greater experiences and know more people would tend to be able to connect dots more broadly.

    However, you do also mention she suffers from anxiety. This is likely manifesting when she talks to people and feels nervous. Her parents are her lighthouse, so to speak, so she brings them up very often.

    Have other people actually said something to you about her conversational skills, or lack thereof? Have you asked her if she notices she does this?

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    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    It's his opinion that she has anxiety

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    When you said a conversation killer, i was going to expect you to say she starts oversharing about bodily functions or something.

    honestly, i think she is trying to relate to the other person, but the closest go to is her parents because she has not experienced the same thing as the other conversor.

    The other person is left in a weird spot of deciding if they should continue the original conversation, or should they begin asking about her parents.

    How do you know if they are in a weird spot? I think you are being over self conscious about it. Other people are fully capable of pushing forward.
    My ex would be critical of my every word and say "yeah, yeah you already said it." or "they don't want to hear that>.." but later i found out that they did!

    Anyway, its not bad in itself to bring up parents:
    them "i lived in China for three years"
    her: "oh that's interesting. My dad also lived in China before i was born. he was working with a company."
    them: "I was there because i was dating this guy who was from there."
    OR "that's really cool. Maybe i could talk to him about it some time/maybe we could talk about it later"

    maybe you need to let go and let other people who are speaking "correct" or redirect the conversation. Trust that they will navigate it for themselves and she will figure it out based on their responses.

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    I have a feeling that all of this stems from her home life growing up. It wasn't difficult in the typical sense. Her parents are married, successful, and are genuinely nice people. However, I think they have instilled this need for perfection in her that she can't seem to let go of. Her dad has a PhD and is a scientist at a Fortune 500, and they refer to her Mom as "Queen" (It's technically a joke, which I understand, but it has gotten to a point where I think they truly believe it). IMO, she doesn't ask questions because she doesn't want to sound dumb, so she always circles back to her parents because she is only comfortable talking about things she knows about.

    Do NOT blame her parents. Some people are anxious because of other factors. Sometimes its physiological or chemical. Sometimes people have hidden food sensitivities that mimic an anxiety condition. Why not just expand her bubble and have some adventures with her? Go canoeing, go on a day trip (not overnight) - she will have more things to talk about that way

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    Does your girlfriend have a job, study, have friends? Does she have much going on in her life? Sometimes when people don't have a lot happening in their life, they might just keep talking about the only thing they DO have in their life. And I guess it just so happens that she's very close to her parents.

    I think your girlfriend does sound socially awkward and you're right, not good at conversation. This might not be deliberate though. She may actually not even notice that she's doing it. You could just talk to her about it and suggest she ask people questions and discuss various topics. You can see if she will take that advice on board.

    Although in most cases people don't change and this might be just how she is. There are definitely people out there that only like to talk about themselves and they usually don't even notice it. If this annoys you a lot then you may actually need to end the relationship. What people find annoying and a deal breaker in a partner varies from person to person so if you find this a deal breaker then that's just how it is.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Being an eloquent interesting conversationalist is not everyone's talent or passion. Does she bore you?


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