A Duh Conversation

Sometimes I think too much instant messaging and text messaging is not good.  We get so used to keeping everything brief, we forget that it is important to paint the context of our message.  I have a friend who often uses names in group conversations… but these names that she mentions, are names of people whom the rest of the group do not know. 

For e.g., this friend once went, “Hey, there’s XXX”.  The rest of us were like huh?  Who’s XXX?  She then went over to talk to XXX.  After she rejoined the group, she said, “I haven’t seen XXX for some time”.  I couldn’t help but ask, “Er, who the heck is XXX?  Are we supposed to know him?”.  And my friend replied, “He’s a friend of another of my church friends.  Don’t think you all know him”.  I didn’t say it out loud but I was thinking duh?  If we don’t know him, then why proclaim his presence to us as though we did?.  What made it even weirder was when we met another girl at our lunch venue, the first thing this friend said to that girl was, “I met XXX just now”.  I saw a blank look on the girl’s face so I asked her later, “Do you know that XXX that our friend was talking about?”.  The girl said no.

There was this other time when we were talking funerals and open coffins, etc.  This friend suddenly said, “Yeah, I didn’t look at AAA during her funeral either”.  Once again I paused, looked at the rest, saw no response, so I asked , “Who’s AAA?”.  My friend replied, “AAA from NUS Law Fac?  The one who committed suicide?”.  Once again, I’m like duh?!  Amongst the group of us, I’m from NTU, another gal’s from poly, and the 3rd wasn’t even educated here.  How on earth are we supposed to know who this AAA is, how she died, etc? 

Nothing wrong with citing examples or or names of people that the rest of the group do not know. But at least give some context.  Like instead of going “There’s XXX”… perhaps say something like, “That’s a friend of my church friend.  Let me go say hi”.  Or “did you all read or hear about AAA from NUS Law Fac previously?  The one who committed suicide ‘cos of … (whatever reason)”.  I mean, provide some context.  Some background.  So that the people around you will not be lost mid-conversation.

I told my friend about this before.  That when she talks, she should not say something without clarifying the background.  Don’t use a name without head or tail.  Don’t say things halfway”.  Her reply was, “But my church friends always know what I’m talking about.  I’m so used to being understood I don’t see why you all don’t get it”.  Duh.  Of course we don’t get it… if her church friends get it, that’s ‘cos she’s always talking about people from church.  But don’t expect the rest of us who’re not from her church to know right?  Duh.

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November 2008