I heard a friend of mine from half a block away today, talking to another mutual friend. There was mid-morning traffic going; we were near a fairly busy intersection near downtown and as I walked up, I made a joke to our mutual friend about the Loud Guy maybe someday figuring out how to be quiet. He smirked. The Loud Guy didn’t. Instead, he called me out on my calling him out, and I patiently explained -as I’d done before- that the only reason I brought it to his attention was that I used to be that way, and only through good friends who loved me more than they were interested in pleasing me bringing it to MY attention did I start to mature in the social graces arena.
He didn’t appreciate it. In fact, he basically told me to shut up about it. I basically told him “no”. This guy is a good person, but he has the emotional maturity of a nine-year old and about the same level of social graces. I only call him out on the fact that while everyone else speaks in conversations, he screams, because that used to be me. I was always the loud one. If I got excited about anything, watch out: I would be roaring about it in no time.
Finally, my best friend began to bring it to my attention, and not too subtly either. He’d wince when we were in the car together and cut me off to tell me to pipe down. When we were out and about he’d happily call my loud voice to my attention, sometimes in public, sometimes in front of other people. I got pissed, I simmered, I boiled over at him about it. And then I grew the fuck up. The entire world wasn’t interested in hearing everything I had to say, and I didn’t need to be broadcasting my opinion to everyone within shout-shot. Good conversationalists don’t make their point with volume; they make their point with their ideas and the way they verbalize them. This guy likes to talk a LOT -like I said, he’s a lot like me- and when he gets excited or impassioned or feels the need to shout someone else down, that’s exactly what he does. He brays.
But braying doesn’t make people listen to you. In fact, it has the opposite effect. I learned that through the less-than-gentle tutelage of my best friend and others who, over the years, weren’t afraid to put me in my place. They weren’t afraid to tell me that I sounded like an obnoxious asshole, because I did. I am eternally grateful to them.
Loud Guy isn’t particularly grateful to me right now; in fact he is nursing a resentment towards me. That’s fine. I really don’t care. Until he learns how to lower his voice to an acceptable level I’ll continue to call him on it. Maybe one of these days he’ll grow the fuck up too.