3 Things To Learn From Awkward Interactions – Pt. 1

Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 17:27-28 ESV

From Jordan:

Recently, my wife and I were at a coffee shop in a small college town. We ordered coffee and I paid, which is where most normal interactions would have ended.

But for some reason I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and yammered on, accidentally saying something mildly offensive… Annoying in the least.

Now, I didn’t say anything explicitly bad or sinful, but it was pretty dumb. In common parlance we refer to it as blabber-mouthing, when you know you should stop talking but don’t.

This may seem like a little-thing I’m making into a big-thing, but I think we can grow as people if we’re honest with ourselves.

After reflecting on this interaction and too-many others like it in my life, I’ve discovered 3 things these awkward interactions can teach us with respect to Proverbs 17:27-28.

Today, we’ll deal with the first:

1. When blabber-mouthing, we’re often too eager to display our wit, intelligence, knowledge, or accomplishments.

This way of interacting with people is off-putting and just plain annoying.

Unfortunately, it’s also pretty common.

When we witness it in ourselves or in others it’s often a sign of pride. Here’s the tricky part though, pride has two-sides to its proverbial coin: 1) outright arrogance, and 2) insecurity.

The first isn’t a shocker, a show off is always going to be a show off, right?

But if we’re seeking to make much of ourselves in conversation we should take a cue from the greatest man who ever lived (Matthew 11:11), and say with him, “Jesus must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).

But the second is slippery, surprising even. Especially if it’s something you’re guilty of.

Over-talking often denotes insecurity because it’s part of how we *prove* to people how great we are—though, not to display our dominance, but to ensure others see us in a positive light.

In essence, we’re so concerned with how others view us we try a little too hard to impress.

In turn, this leads to interactions with fellow human beings that feel more like a performance than an organic conversation.

Worse still, while our conversation partner is speaking, we’re not listening, but thinking about what we’re going to say next!

Have you seen either of these proclivities in your life? What about in someone else’s?

Tomorrow, we’ll tackle the second thing these interactions can teach us.

This series is adapted from a post originally appearing on Jordan’s blog, which you can follow here.

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