One of my emerging personality traits is beginning to bother me: My tendency to repeat beloved personal stories to people who’ve most likely heard those tales before. Right now, this behavior might be only an occasional vexation, but it might also lead me inexorably towards perseveration—the tendency toward repeated actions, utterance or thought patterns without apparent stimulus.
Granted, at certain moments I’m sortof sure that my story-telling may be warranted. So I give myself the permission/invitation to blab on-and-on about some perhaps-cogent moment in my personal history. Eventually, though, I can forget to whom I told that story, thus risking its uninvited repetition!
Backing up a bit here. I’ve lived a long life now, so my memories are filled with stories whose particulars may be quite extraordinary. Those stories can help me find my imagined place in the admiration of others. But the problem lies in my unsolicited retelling of those tales.
It doesn’t help to precede my sharing with “Stop me if you’ve heard this before.” In polite company no one prevents a potential perseverator from launching into their tale yet once again. (On the other hand, there’s not much to be gained from remaining eternally quiet in polite company.)
Some correctives: Eliminating from my list of stories-to-be-shared any of my all-time favorites; confining my story-telling to fresh experiences and recent events; or disciplining myself to listen intently more than I share incessantly. Another: Whittling down any possibly repeated tales into their summary form. Perhaps best of all: Waiting for an actual (repeated?) invitation before “telling about the time when….”
In its most-severe form, repetitive sharing of stories could become a pitiable personality trait. Not wanting myself to become the subject of someone else’s repeated story-telling about perseverators, I’m going to nip this thing in the bud!
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