When you return home from travels abroad, you are often faced with challenges to your mental state. Life beckons you to settle back into the mundane but you try to retain the spirit and outlook which have carried you throughout your journey. You scour through photographs you’ve taken, sort out restaurant receipts, leave some memorabilia lying around your desk and replay memories on your computer screen. In short, you want to prolong the experience as much as possible and welcome the chance to replay the best moments.
At some point, your friends, family and colleagues will ask you that long-anticipated question, “How was your trip?” Before you get too excited about sharing your memories, take note of the different type of people and how to handle what seems on the surface like a harmless question.
1. The ADHD Sufferer
“How was your trip” is immediately followed by “Did you know that…” This person veers the conversation away from your response by telling you about something that happened to them during your absence, like the dog being sick or a frivolous story about their child and their nappies. They usually speak at one hundred miles an hour, flipping from one inanity to the next, lost in the belief that they have heard your story and not theirs.
What to do: As this person doesn’t come up for air, barge in on their tale and remind them, “Hey, you asked about my holiday!” and watch them apologise. Then hit them with the longest story possible, chaining a series of unrelated events because that’s all their minds are capable of digesting.
2. The Skinny Soy Latte Drinker
“How was your trip” is immediately followed by “Tell me the highlight”. This person is after a précis and doesn’t want to be bothered with any detail you have to offer. And let’s face it, you’ve come back with a lot of detailed stories. They may be in a senior management role or just an all round skinny or soy milk drinker, skimming through life swallowed up in their self-importance.
What to do: Respond by saying that there was no singular highlight but several key moments and proceed to tell them stories in minutia. Remember not to smile too much as you watch their facial features contort.
3. The Procrastinator
“How was your trip” is immediately followed by “We should catch up properly sometime so I can hear all about it”. Heed my words, you may catch up with this person at some point but your trip will be the furthest thing from their mind.
What to do: Don’t let them get away too easily. Make a date and time on the spot. Offer them teasers about your trip which you know are of interest to them to draw them back quickly to you. If you manage to catch up soon, dive in with your travel tales immediately. These people are chronic clock watchers.
4. The Delusional Hijacker
“How was your trip” is immediately followed by “Only four weeks till we go to <insert destination>”. This person hijacks your account of the trip by talking of their upcoming holiday in excruciating detail as if it has already happened.
What to do: There is only one way to silence them. Pick a destination you know they’re not visiting and say, “You’re not going to <location>? But you must! Or you’ll miss out on the best experience of your life!” If they steer the conversation back to their plans, hit them with facts that prove they’re talking theory, or better still, tell them, “Just wait till you get there…”
5. The Clam
“How was your trip” is followed with dead silence. This person clams up the minute you provide details of a place you’ve visited, a food you’ve eaten and enjoyed, a drink you’ve discovered or a hotel you recommend as their facial features take on a sudden green hue.
What to do: Take advantage of their silence and keep relating your travel tales, stringing the conversation from one city or experience to another. Watch out for the precise moment when the green on their face turns to red. It might be time to call it quits.
If you encounter someone who is willing to listen to the many highlights of your trip, look at the odd photograph, or even better, visit your website to read about your travel, food and restaurant review articles, count your blessings. They’re as rare as that bargain you’ve picked up in Venice from a souvenir merchant on the Rialto Bridge.
Which type of person are you?
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