TED Conversations

Thomas Hawkins

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When does a conversation become worth while?

I want to know when a conversation is worth while? Is every conversation worth having? Are we just venting or gaining something? Perhaps a little of both, but are they both just as important?


Closing Statement from Thomas Hawkins

It seems for the most part that the majority of people determine the worth of a conversation by satisfying selfish and/or mutual group needs. A follow up question would be, do we think about satisfying these needs before entering a conversation? I don’t think that we do on a social playing field, gossip, etc; therefore, it is fair to say that for the majority not all conversations are worth having. Worth while conversations are those where we are able satisfy/solve our needs/questions. Therefore, this must require some premeditative thought, to an extent, depending on severity and consciousness of the individual’s needs and desires of the future conversation.

Although, I’d like to propose and entertain the idea that "all" conversations are worth while regardless of what novel you have written in your conversational speech. The answer lies in the opportunity. This latest conversational masterpiece and/or self-published disaster came into existence through an opportunity to have a conversation. Rather than looking at the end product, maybe we should think about the worth in the opportunity of invention and discovery. I am not denying that some conversations are more worth while than others, some are mundane and draining, good and bad, but I’d like to throw a stick in the spokes and stop the bike of “reward thinking”. It is worth while to debate, question and be curious toward even the most “unworthy” topics of choice. We may not even satisfy our own needs, but be there for another to talk with. A shoulder to cry on, if you will.

Is it possible to find reward without having won a race? Yes...

ps. Just a little note of thanks. Thank you for all your comments, really interesting points of view. I also must say sorry for being on the "down low" as of late. Busy days. All the best

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    Sep 15 2012: It is as important to listen as it is to say what is on our mind.
    Not every conversation is worth having; especially when things become heated and it seems to be turning to all talk and no listening.

    It is always important to make an effort to get to know another person, and there is no better way of knowing someone else than listening, understanding and asking questions.
    But if there is no effective communication because the other person is not keen; and if the intention to listen and understand is not mutual; then a conversation is not worthwhile.
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      Sep 15 2012: thanks Feyisayo.

      I understand what you mean, but would it be fair to say that perhaps when a conversation that ended in a heated dispute is a "bad" conversation. Maybe it was worth having to understand those heated feelings?

      We can have a variety of conversations each with a different destination; gaining knowledge, understanding, building rapport, expressing ideas, etc. The end product is often what determines the "worth" of the conversation, but without the performance the critic has no job. Therefore, I think that the "worth" should be determined on something else...

      I do like this "if the intention to listen and understand is not mutual; then a conversation is not worthwhile." It takes two to tango
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        Sep 15 2012: The end product really determines the worth. Even if it does not end well, at least we can confidently say that we tried our best to reach out.

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