Be mindful of conversations in public

Published 6:00 am Friday, June 1, 2018

Conversations reveal the inner person. It is a natural course of events for people to talk about what they have on their mind. What they have on their mind is a clue to what kind of person they are.

I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but in public we are often put in situations where we hear what other people are talking about and have no place to get away from them. Standing in a check-out line, waiting in a doctor’s office, or sitting in the waiting area while our vehicle gets an oil change are simple examples of being contained in a place where we may overhear other people’s conversations whether we want to or not.

Especially in the age of cell phones, people seem to think they are invisible.

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In any conversation, if a person uses profanity, my opinion of them starts down a slippery slope. If they use vulgar language continually, if doesn’t take long to realize they aren’t playing with a full deck.

Hearing people talk about their illnesses is not contained to a waiting room in a doctor’s office. It seems that a person’s health state is bound to be on the edge of their thoughts constantly if they are dealing with an illness or injury. I don’t mind hearing people talk about these issues that are important to them, but if that’s all they talk about every time you meet up with them, it certainly is a good indicator that something in their life is out of balance.

Recently, I was listening to the wisdom of a couple of local people about medicinal and edible plants. I couldn’t help noticing the gentleman who changed tables and got a little closer so he could enjoy the conversation without ever being part of it.

If I have a conversation with anyone, there are some things that are sure to come out within half an hour. I will acknowledge God in a respectful manner. I am very likely to talk about my grandchildren. I will talk about nature, or some book project I’m working on.

When I was teaching, I would often relate the cute stories of what the children in my classroom had to say, or the funny things they did.

I don’t think it is necessary to always be talking about something. Even on a date or with other family members, silence should not be an awkward time when a person has to scramble to bring up a new topic and take up more time.

I love conversations with storytellers. In this section of the country, we are blessed with a wide variety of story tellers. It has never mattered to me what the story was about as much as it matters if the story is relevant and entertaining. I enjoy the way a good story teller will draw the listeners in to become part of the story in their imagination.

Among the recent conversations I’ve overheard, I found several to be very entertaining. For example, the person who was talking about having to change the baby diaper on their pet pig. I was flabbergasted. Changing regular baby diapers was never that much fun in my opinion. I can’t imagine having to do the same for a pig!

I also overheard someone talking about taking a class to get their License to Carry a Concealed Weapon and which type of pistol they preferred.

Still another conversation was about what a great job Ron Howard did in directing the new Star Wars saga movie Solo about the character Hans Solo in the original films. In these people’s opinion, the move was great and worth seeing more than once.

Conversations about church are also common in our area. And with the Poke Sallet Festival activities this weekend, there is a lot of chatter about this annual event.

I never get bored when other people around. The more conversations I hear, the more interesting I find people to be. Just as a reminder – an individual may want to be careful about what they discuss in public, whether on their cell phone or talking to a real person, because more than likely someone is listening when least expected.

Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.