A: “I bought a new car!”
B: “I really like my car I bought about a year ago. I got a really good deal on it too, and it’s my favourite colour.”
A: “I had a great time at the party.”
C: “Me too. I also met someone really interesting, and we might get together for coffee soon.”
A: “I cycled 1200 km!”
D: “I know someone who cycles a lot. She cycled across the continent. She is doing ironman all the time.”
A: “I love that I can do math quickly in my head.”
E: “My friend works for NASA and literally does those equations that take an entire blackboard to write. I think you can find him on Google. Lemme see…”
Those are actual conversations.
This is called conversation hijacking.
It’s really diminishing and minimizing. Some times (the latter example) it’s clearly one-upping. When they are called out on it, though, they say “Oh wow. I’m only trying to connect with you! pffft.”
The issue is this. The topic is not the car. Not the party. No the bicycle. The topic is “I,” and that’s what the people B, C, D, E should be connecting if they wish to connect with the person A.
Due to the consistency of these patterns, I personally believe that there is a reason B-E people consistently link off a “thing” not the person in the story. I personally believe that these people subconsciously resist approving/praising the person A. But I’m not a psychologist, and that’s a whole another thing.
I’m just putting this here on my blog because there are scarce resources out there on the internet about this even though it is quite damaging to the receiving party. Even though this damaging behaviour is difficult to call out unless there is a name to call it by.
It is called “conversation hijacking,” and it is really very uncool, guys.