The Five Minute Rule

Visiting the Colosseum in Rome

After we moved to Asia in 2003 my husband and I began to travel extensively. We were teachers in Hong Kong and every vacation or long weekend we hopped on a plane somewhere and explored another part of the world. The people we worked with at the international school where we taught, were almost all avid globe trotters as well, and so we loved to chat about our various holidays and travel adventures with one another.

I noticed however when we returned home to Canada that most people were interested in hearing us talk about our travels for about 5 minutes in a conversation. Unless they were avid travelers too or had actually been to the same destination their eyes started to glaze over after about 5 minutes. I soon learned to watch for the signals and then cut off stories about travel escapades as quickly as possible.

Opening the box with the first copies of my book

I am finding it is kind of the same thing when you have a book published. Of course, you are terribly excited about it and want to talk about it but soon realize there are many people you know or meet who don’t have any idea you’ve written a book, haven’t read your book, didn’t think your book was that great, or have no clue about all the years of work that goes into writing a book or how slim your chances were of getting it published.

If I talk about my novel too much, even if someone has asked me a question about my book, their eyes soon glaze over, their attention is diverted by something going on around us, or they start an alternate conversation. Of course, the exception is other writers who know all about the process of writing and publishing a book and are eager to hear and share information and ideas. I am realizing when it comes to my book it is a good idea to not bring up the topic, but wait for someone else to introduce it, and then use the same 5-minute rule that I use for travel stories.

If you aren’t visiting with other educators its best to limit your descriptions of your teaching experiences in conversation

I think this isn’t only true when it comes to the topics of travel or book publishing. I have also found if you are with people who aren’t grandparents it’s best to keep your comments about your own grandchildren to a five-minute limit. If you are with people who aren’t teachers it is best to keep your wisdom about schools and education and your own teaching experiences to five minutes. If you are with people who don’t attend church it is best to keep talking about your church down to a five-minute quota. When I worked at the art gallery I noticed that waxing eloquent about some exhibit just made people who weren’t interested or familiar with art decidedly bored after 5 minutes.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always stick to the five-minute rule nor am I always as sensitive as I should be to situations where I need to use it, but I’m trying.

Other posts………..

No Christians Fed to Lions and Other Things You Might Not Know About the Colosseum

It’s Not Vanity

Five Things I Believe About Learning

2 Comments

Filed under Reflections, Travel

2 responses to “The Five Minute Rule

  1. This is funny and so true. Often five minutes is much too much.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Linda Braun Driedger

    That is absolutely true. Always watch people’s reaction to your story. If their eyes glaze over let them talk. Ask them a question about their life and their interests.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.